Charlotte is multicultural and creative, and on Saturday, Aug. 27, the India Association of Charlotte will host its 26th Annual Festival of India in uptown Charlotte. The eight-hour event — from noon to 8 p.m. — will be held at Belk Theater, featuring Indian food, music, art and Bollywood performances. 

I connected with Shefalee Patel, visual artist/community connector, who curates art and hosts dance workshops at the festival. She said the association canceled the festival the last two years because of the pandemic, then hosted a kick-off earlier this year in Matthews. I attended that Matthews event and loved the Indian fashion and dancing. 

Things to do

The Festival of India is a 360-event. Inside Belk Theater will be art galleries, an Indian jewelry raffle, dancing and performing arts, henna tattoos, sari draping and turban tying. 

Go to the third floor to view a Himalayas exhibition featuring upcycled art with a 3-D Thanjur Temple, Mount Everest creation, a five-foot peacock and more. Indian food trucks and other activities will be set up outside the theater. 

Get moving at the dancing and drumming workshops:

  • At 2 p.m., a Bollywood dance workshop with Shailu
  • At 4 p.m., a Dhol-Tasha drum procession
  • At 6:45 p.m., a Garba dance workshop

Why the Festival of India is so dope

It’s for the culture! As stated in a press release from the host organization, Charlotte is the perfect place for bringing together people from all over to “foster a better understanding of the cultural diversity of India with the mainstream community at large.” 

“We’d love anyone with an appreciation and interest in Indian culture to join us,” Patel said. “It’s a space for India, for everyone.”

You can purchase tickets and learn more here.

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