The 10th Eastleigh Mela, held on Eastleigh Town Rec, took place on Sunday 19th July 2015.
This was my second year supporting the Mela and as before the event was a riot of colour, sound and wonderful smells!
This celebration of (mostly) Asian Culture is run by the Asian Welfare and Cultural Association Eastleigh (AWCA), which is based in the Holy Cross Church Centre and chaired by Councillor Darshan Singh Mann, (who, incidentally, is also an Asda Colleague.)
The 10th Eastleigh Mela was opened by BBC TV’s Sally Taylor and the Mayor of Eastleigh, Councillor Jane Welsh.
Celebration of all things exotic
This yearly event is a celebration of all things exotic; dance in all its varied forms, Indian classical, Nepali, Thai, Belly dance and Bollywood style all performed in beautiful costume and headdresses to traditional music, some of it performed live.
There were also Chinese Lion dancers with drums and a male Gurkha group performing with wooden swords and bolas in a martial dance style. The Garden stage at the Point hosted its own programme, separate from the main stage which included Irish and Morris dancers and the Nepali troupe.
Music and live performances
Music was provided by Unity 101FM broadcasting live from the event, together with live performances by both traditional performers, Indian pop stars, a Steel band and an R&B group who were giving a spirited rendition of Disney’s “Wanna be like you!” from the Jungle Tale! East – West Fusion band Kissmet took us into the evening with a mix of Banghra, Rock and classical Indian Raags that had people dancing on the grass.
A range of stalls included the Kids Zone; a climbing wall, falconry display, sandpit, circus skills and storytelling arts and crafts including a version of traditional Indian battle kite making.
Face painting for Tickled Pink charity
Face painting was provided by myself and colleague Julie from Asda Totton – we raised just over £100 for cancer charity Tickled Pink from donations. Our “Frozen” design and the Minions were hugely popular along with Spider-man and assorted Tigers, Lions and Dogs!
There were things for grown ups too, including henna painting, jewellery (Indian Bling!) and brightly coloured saris on the AWCA stall, to bric-a-brac and tombola stalls for local charities, martial arts displays in assorted styles.
I saw Karate and Tai Chi from where I was. Hampshire Fire & Rescue were on hand with a display including demonstrations of a Fireman’s carry, as were many community organisations from Eastleigh BID to the local Buddhist Group.
Then there was the food; I could have eaten my way around the world if I hadn’t been so busy! There was a Thai Chai stall (try saying that really fast!) and a Caribbean stall selling coconut based drinks sucked through a bamboo stalk.
There were at least three stalls offering assorted curries, samosas, bhaji etc. Another was selling fusion cuisine wraps- tikka chicken and guacamole?
Then there were the Naan bread stuffed with everything under the sun.
The AWCA stand had kulfies (Indian ice creams based on condensed milk) flavoured with so many good things: mango, cinnamon, coconut, vanilla, rum & raisin, (Now that’s what I call fusion cuisine!) lemon grass and cardamom. By the time I got there they were all gone except the plain ones…
There was also coffee and ice cream to be had from more traditional vendors for those too chicken to try something new.
If you didn’t go this year, go along next! This truly “diverse” free community event had probably thousands of attendees (no one was counting!), with whole families sat down on the grass to picnic and party!
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