Ananda Mela 2014 true to its name it was a festival of joy and happiness. This was my first time attending Ananda mela, I was amazed how big this event was. There were so many people, people of all ages, local businesses of different kinds who had put up stalls all over the park. Weather was beautiful in Seattle over the weekend, couldn’t have been any better. It was hot! But that hot blazing sun didn't pull down anyone's enthusiasm.
One of the things which stood out was the efforts organizers put to make this event more participatory with Cooking contest, Dance your way to Hawaii and Chess, Science and technology contests for children among others. Highlight of the Ananda Mela was Vedic village, an exhibit featuring vedic life and culture, it was literally a center of attraction (displayed right in the middle of the park).
The shoppers had a difficult time to choose what to buy because there was so much variety in apparel, jewelry, home decor stalls. Loved all the Indian food stalls set up by the Vedic Cultural Centre just couldn’t resist eating all those mouth watering delicacies.Vedic Cutural centre did a great job by maintaining the tasty food quality even when it was in such large numbers. People did shop till they dropped, took a break , enjoyed the live stage performances and were back on their feet to explore more. While parents were busy, kids made most of the festival by happily playing in the kids area. With so many colorful toys and games it was hard for them to leave the place. All day long you could see many volunteers running in and around, neither the hot sun nor the crowd affected their energy. There were children who were sketching and earning donations for the temple.
Entertainment was served in best quality and quantity. Brides of India featuring women dressed in traditional bridal wear of different parts of India just amazed the audience and left us wanting to see it once more. What beautiful dance performances by talented individuals. From Bhartnatayam to oddisi, Bhangara to Bollywood, classical music to hip hop was truly a treat for eyes. Celebrated Bollywood performer DJ Prashant made everyone dance to his tunes, his way of entertaining people with Bollywood dance moves and making the crowd dance along with him is so infectious and it just left everyone craving for more.
The two day festival was truly the largest and most lively festival of the year. The Artistic director Latha Pat( Sambamurti) is always full of energy and enthusiastic with her sense of humor and a sweet smile.
I thank all the organizers and volunteers of Anand Mela, These festivals are a great way to teach our younger generation about our rich cultural heritage. We need such festivals to create a home away from home.