By Amanda Hatfield
MELBOURNE -- One of the most anticipated cultural events of the year has arrived.
The 17th annual Indiafest will be held at the Wickham Pavilion in Melbourne from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, March 9, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 10.
Celebrating 100 years of the captivating cinema, known as "Bollywood", this year's theme is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
"The Indian cinema industry is considered the largest movie industry in the world, producing more movies than Hollywood each year," said Nina Gadodia, chairwoman and founder of Indiafest. "The industry has changed considerably through its 100-year existence."
Indiafest is a volunteer-operated, nonprofit cultural organization known for its charitable efforts to several local charities, including parent organization, Manav Mandir.
"This year, the organization has selected Sentinels of Freedom as the special charity," Mrs. Gadodia said in a press release.
"We chose Sentinels of Freedom after seeing the need to help out our returning heroes, as they rehabilitate in the society," Mrs. Gadodia said.
Those who are attending Indiafest for the first time can expect a wide range of entertainment.
"There will be many booths run by Florida's finest Indian restaurants, serving an array of Indian cuisine," Mrs. Gadodia said. "There will also be vendors from around the country selling Sarris, other Indian clothing, fine and costume jewelry, and hand-crafted and home décor artifacts of India."
A "Discover India" booth will exhibit artifacts and history of "100 Years of Indian Cinema," with a theatre presenting the history of Bollywood.
"Dances and musical performances, as well as the signature fashions show, will be alive with the beats of Bollywood on both days," Mrs. Gadodia added.
Fun for the whole family, Indiafest also has a youth activity booth, educating and entertaining children with hands-on activities, including movie-making workshops.
With an appeal to many walks of life, Indiafest strives to bring people together.
"This is a community-based organization which promotes multiculturalism and a healthy coexistence," Mrs. Gadodia said. "We encourage our community and all ethnic backgrounds to come learn the dances and then perform them together."
Indiafest will be at Wickham Park Pavilion, on Saturday, March 9, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, March 10, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tickets are $5 for adults, $2 for children ages 6-12, with free admission for children 5 and younger.
Visit www.indiafestbrevard.org for more information.