July 17, 2018 By Tara Law
About 2,000 people are expected to turn out for a festival celebrating South Asian food, culture and activism this Saturday.
Chhaya Community Development Corporation, a Jackson Heights-based nonprofit that fights poverty in the South Asian Community, will host the seventh annual Chatpati Mela (Street Fair) on 77th Street between Roosevelt Avenue and 37th Avenue from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The festival aims to promote South Asian community, goods and community activism, according to Chhaya. Artists and food influenced by Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Tibet, Pakistan, and others parts of the South Asian and Indo-Caribbean diaspora will be represented.
The festival will feature 13 stage performances, 15 food vendors and 25 community community partner booths, according to Chhaya. Other attractions will include a pani puri eating contest, children’s crafts, a raffle and a puppet show.
The festival will feature a variety of performance and musical styles, including Bharatanatyam, Bhangra and Bollywood-style dance.
Artists and cultural groups will include Chitra Singh of Raj Kumari Cultural Center, Gangadai Kirtan, Habibi Express, Karma, Malini Srinivasan & Dancers, Masoom Moitra, MeenMoves, Parijat Desai Dance Company, Nepali Dance Theater, Masala Bhangra, Sharif Rabby, Umesh Mangipudi.
Several workshops will be open to festival attendees across the road from the main festival stage. Two book binding workshops will be guided by urban planner and architect Masoom Moitra and visual artist Umesh Mangipudi from 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
A Bharatanatyam dance class will be conducted from 1:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
The event will be emceed by Monty Kataria, head of production at the New York Indian film festival and co-chair of the Association of Indians in America’s New York Chapter. Annetta Seecharran, Chhaya’s executive director, will provide opening remarks.