Fayetteville is home to many organizations and each organization holds a unique footprint in our 03-30-11-india-fay.gifcommunity and adds personality to the community at the same time. The local SENCAIA — South Eastern North Carolina Asian Indian Association is one such organization.

Every year SENCAIA hosts the annual India Festival, donating all of the profits to a chosen charity each year. This year the festival will be held on April 9 at the Crown, and will feature authentic Indian cuisine, fusion Indo- Chinese dishes, Bollywood-themed performances, a live instrumental concert, live-cooking demonstrations, a fashion show and more.

Since 2005, SENCAIA has hosted the annual festival in Fayetteville, donating all proceedings to local charities such as Better Health for Cumberland County, Army Wives Association, armed forces, firefighters and the Boys and Girls clubs. To date the organization has donated $85,000 to these local charities.

According to SENCAIA member, Sharmila Udyavar, “The main purpose of this annual event is to create awareness about the Indian culture, adding to the great cultural diversity of Fayetteville, N.C.”

A range of vendors will also be on hand to display different cuisines of India varying from the street foods to delicacies full of exotic spices. For food lovers, there will be various live-cooking demonstrations throughout the day that will feature different Indian recipes. Other vendor booths will also offer a variety of spices typical to India, ethnic Indian wear, intriguing gold jewelry, arts and crafts and more.

No festival can be complete without some dance and music, and the India Festival has invited professional artists/ performers from different parts of the United States, and is even bringing on group of performers from India. These artists will display and array of folk dances, Bollywoodthemed dance numbers, classical and contemporary dances.

Overall, the goal of the festival is also to familiarize our community with various colors of the Indian culture, by focusing on the spirit of the local Indian population. Fayetteville indeed is a melting pot, full of wonderful surprises. The India Festival is an event not to be missed, as it takes you away to a world full of hospitality, delicious food, beautiful people and great bargains.

Since sponsors and vendors mostly fund the event, there is a small entry fee of $2 for adults and children under three are free. The fun starts at 11 a.m. and runs through 7 p.m. Call 438-4100 for more info.

PHOTOS: Dancers perform at the 2010 India Festival.

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