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Record-breaking turnout at the Global Mela
By: Mahadev Desai
Thousands of mela attendees jam-packed the Global Mall
By some estimates, over 12,000 people attended the Global Mela on Saturday October 2 and Sunday October 3, 2010. Sponsored by Atlanta’s Global Mall and Legacy Jewels, it presented over 35 booth vendors, making it the largest mela Global Mall has held in the past 8 years and the largest free carnival event the South Asian community has held in the Southeast. The goal of presenting India’s rich culture was achieved through activities and programs with the theme “Roadtrip through South Asia.”
A section of the spacious parking lot, facing the front entrance of the Mall was festooned with balloons. The parking lot was filled to capacity by the time the opening ceremony of the Mela was performed by Georgia State Senator and life-long resident of Gwinnett County, Curt Thompson, with Global Mall owner Shiv Aggarwal and his family.
Outside, children jumped, climbed, and slid on the inflatable castle, slides and rock-climbing wall set up in the parking lot. As visitors entered the mall, the aroma of Indian food provided by Ashiana Restaurant greeted them. At the top of the stairs, the Global Mall family and volunteers welcomed all guests with free raffle tickets and a gift from the mall. Raffle prizes included an Ipod, a BlueRay DVD Player & a Plasma TV. Ladlee Clothing Boutique sponsored over 100 free raffle items, and many of the mall stores had free gifts.
The many booth vendors represented nonprofits, services and products like Indian costumes, jewelry, artwork and handicrafts, real estate, travel, insurance, tuition, etc. Free activities and food, sponsored by the mall and Legacy Jewels included face painting, balloon artists, sand art, spin art, cotton candy, popcorn, and snow cones. Ruby Beauty Salon had set up free mehndi, Global Groceries was serving pani puri and chat, and Bhojanic served biryani.
The Mela ambience was enhanced by the “dhamake-dar” music and beats of DJ Bobby and dhol player Sameet, with crowds dancing every hour on both days.
Special free events on Saturday included a magic show, followed by Raas-Garba hosted by Gujarati Samaj and the mall. Novice participants were instructed by Vandana Aggarwal, Sonny Molu and other volunteers. On Sunday the cultural show featured dances, songs, and musicians from the Nritya Natya Kala Bharti, Swarnaad School of Music, and Prem’s Studio of Performing Arts, along with other local artists.
“This is our way of thanking the community,” said Global Mall owner Shiv Aggarwal. He and daughters Aarti & Vandana, Global Mall coordinators, also thanked the sponsors, vendors, tenants, volunteers, and the media: T.V. Asia, India Tribune, Wownow.com, Atlanta Dunia, NRI Pulse, Khabar, Saathee, Desh Videsh, JanDarpan and Garavi Gujarat. For event photos by Vinod Devlia, please see www.amsglobalmall.com or the Facebook page.
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