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Festival of India a huge cultural draw (13 photos)

Thousands turn out on Saturday to sample Indian music, cuisine and dance.

THUNDER BAY – Food, music and dancing is clearly the recipe for festival success in Thunder Bay.

Thousands of people descended on Marina Park on Saturday afternoon to take part in the ninth annual Festival of India celebrations.

Despite cloudy skies, the turnout thrilled organizer Prashant Jani.

“You can see the joy on the people’s faces. Everybody is happy here,” said Jani, saying he loves to be able to share the culture of his homeland with everyone in Thunder Bay.

“That’s what the wonder of Canada is. We all love each other, with respect of caste, culture and creed,” Jani said.

“That’s how we are different from other places in the world.”
 How popular is the food?

Lineups for the free meal began early in the afternoon, with patrons standing their ground until dinner was ready to be served, some in line for hours.

Others, who didn’t mind paying for their meal, took the shorter course and samples samosas and other Indian cuisine at one of the many vendors on site at the event.

“I think it’s the food that draws so many people. People love Indian food – and the dances and music and the parade is another traditional part in Thunder Bay which they have never seen probably before,” Jani said.

“This is the ninth year of the festival and every year we see the crowd growing. Last year we had about 7,000 people. People love the festivity and the Indian culture. We have exhibits, we have henna, we have so many other booths and activities for children. So I think everybody’s having a good time here,” Jani said.

The festival's sister event, the Festival of Colours, is scheduled for Sept. 9. 

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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