OLEAN — Close to 1,000 area residents are expected to explore the food, music and culture of India on Saturday at the biannual India Fest from noon to 6 p.m.

The free event will take place on the grounds of Jamestown Community College’s Olean campus. Organized by the Hindu Society of Olean and Allegany, it has been educating and entertaining locals for more than 20 years.

“We are hoping for good weather, great turnout, lots of fun and bonhomie,” said Srinivas Thandla, president of the Hindu Society. They are also hoping that the 2019 India Fest will give the community a chance to come together and see the unity there is in diversity, something Thandla says is especially pertinent in today’s climate.

”In terms of ethnicity, culture and religion, India is probably the most diverse country in the world,” Thandla explained. “There are 22 major languages and hundreds of dialects. The variation in customs, costumes, food from one region to another are vast. We hope to portray a sample of this diversity for people to appreciate and enjoy.”

The tasty selection of Indian food available will include: samosas (deep fried pastries with spiced potatoes), chicken tikka and butter chicken (dry spiced and creamy sauce); vegetable curries; naan (a leavened flatbread baked in a deep clay oven); mango lassi (cool yogurt drink with mango); masala chai (spiced tea); grilled corn; and gulab jamun, an Indian dessert.

A favorite each year at India Fest, especially among children and young adults, is henna, or mehndi, an Indian body art that temporary colors the skin and can be washed off or fades away within a few days.

Dances and Indian music will include a variety of classical and Bollywood dances by children. Clothing and jewelry from India will be on display. A slide show of interesting aspects of India will be both informative and entertaining, as will be a costume show depicting the diversity of the country.

For more information, visit facebook.com/HinduSocietyOlean AndAllegany/.

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