Mela returns to Lititz Springs Park July 7

By on June 27, 2018

Mela, the local annual Indian-American Fusion Festival, is coming to Lititz Springs Park on Saturday, July 7.

Hosted by the Indian American Fusion Group of Lancaster (IAFGL), Mela will run from 2 to 8 p.m., rain or shine. The event will feature a number of live performances, authentic cuisine, and a variety of fun cultural activities.

IAFGL founder and organizer Satish Dwivedi brought Mela to Lititz in 2014 after seeing how well his coworkers at Clair Brothers responded to the Indian food and culture he shared with them at potlucks. Inspired by the meeting of two cultures, he decided to form IAFGL and orchestrate the first Mela in Lititz Springs Park. According to Satish’s wife, Sandhya Dwivedi, “[IAFGL] wanted to bring Indian and American cultures together to showcase our Indian culture to the people in a relaxed, informal environment.”

Performers gathered for a group photoin Lititz Springs Park at last year’s Mela.

The 2014 Mela was successful in doing just that, and the festival has only grown since its first enthusiastic reception. In 2014, approximately 100 residents of the Lancaster area attended, and last year saw 1,000 people gathered from all over to enjoy and experience Mela.

Delighted by the public’s response, Satish hopes that Mela will continue to grow. His dream is to one day see 5,000 people gathered at the festival.

“Let’s see where we can go,” he said with a grin.

The 2018 Mela is shaping up to be another great success, and many favorite performances, vendors, and activities are returning. Following the opening ceremony, the performances will include a children’s dance, classical Bollywood dance, belly dance, and religious chanting. Traditional Indian dances will also be performed, such as Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, and Kathak. Additionally, local artists like The Scout Band are scheduled to play, and Satish and Sandhya’s daughter, Anya Dwivedi, will sing the popular song “Cups.”

For hungry festival-goers, there will be authentic Indian cuisine available for purchase inside the pavilion. Satish has sampled many dishes from various vendors and found what he calls “the best food at the best price for my people.”

The food vendors will be offering cuisine from both northern and southern India as well as Chinese-Indian flavors. There will be vegetarian, non-vegetarian, and gluten-free dining options available. Mela attendees will also be able to snack on samosas and dosas, and TJ’s Ice Cream of Lancaster will provide frozen treats. Shops will also be stationed around the park. Kurtas, kameez, bangles, and saris will be available for those who are interested in beautiful, intricate Indian apparel. Vendors will also be selling gift items, including handwoven jewelry, decorative handbags, and chandeliers.

There will also be a variety of activities in which to take part this year, including a bounce house, balloon-twisting, face-painting, and henna-tattooing.
The Dwivedi family is looking forward to this year’s Mela.

Ruchi Patel applies henna art on a client’s hand and wrist at last year’e event.

According to Satish, the best part of the event is “connecting with the people, sharing with them, and learning from them.”

His children expressed similar sentiments. Anya, smiling lightly, said her favorite part of the event is “getting to know new people and making friends.”

The Dwivedis’ son, Ansh, also enjoys “helping out and watching all the performances.”

For the time being, Satish plans to continue hosting Mela annually in Lititz.

“I want to focus on this area,” he said over a glass of herb lemonade at Tomato Pie Cafe in Downtown Lititz. “I love it here.”

Nodding, Sandhya added, “The people of Lititz are very welcoming,” and it is “the love of the people [that] motivates us.”

To become a part of this event, RSVP by July 5 by emailing iafglorg@gmail.com. While admission is free and walk-ins are welcome, vendors will adjust food quantities depending on the number of people who indicate their attendance.

To learn more, visit iafgl.org.

Hannah Woodruff is a new correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your questions and comments at hwoodruff98@gmail.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *