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Thousands expected at vibrant Indian Summer Mela 2018 in Ipswich

Thousands of people turned out to watch vibrant performances at the 2016 Indian Summer Mela Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Thousands of people turned out to watch vibrant performances at the 2016 Indian Summer Mela Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Delicious smells and splashes of colour will greet visitors to Suffolk's biggest and brightest celebration of Asian culture this weekend.

The Ipswich Malayalee Association Dancers performing at the 2017 Indian Summer Mela Picture: JAMES AGERThe Ipswich Malayalee Association Dancers performing at the 2017 Indian Summer Mela Picture: JAMES AGER

Thousands of people are expected to descend on Ipswich’s Christchurch Park for the Indian Summer Mela on Sunday.

Now in its 15th year, the open air festival is hosted by the Ipswich & Suffolk Indian Association (ISIA).

Live entertainment will accompany a series of vibrant performances featuring Bollywood dances, sari and turban demonstrations and Mela’s Got Talent. Guests are invited to indulge in Indian cuisine from across the subcontinent at the family-friendly event, which starts at 12pm and ends at 6pm.

Dazzling sunshine is predicted to beam down on visitors as the summer heatwave continues.

Guests enjoying a tasty treat at the 2016 Mela Festival Picture: LUCY TAYLORGuests enjoying a tasty treat at the 2016 Mela Festival Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

More than 10,000 people from across East Anglia came to Ipswich to enjoy the festival last year. Event bosses said: “ISIA is keen to involve and invite local people and the business community to participate in the Mela, with the view to promote their talents, arts, vocation, trade, educational and informative products and services for the general benefit of the Mela Festivities attendees and the wide community as a whole.

“The association along with its partners Ipswich Borough Council work hard to make this diverse event a successful one that is accessible to all sections of the community.”

Vibrant markets and an Indian food village are among the activities on offer at the event.

One of the most eagerly-awaited parts of the day is the Mela’s Got Talent competition.

Visitors to past events have enjoyed the variety of dance acts performing on stage Picture: JAMES AGERVisitors to past events have enjoyed the variety of dance acts performing on stage Picture: JAMES AGER

Contestants with an unusual gift or special talent are invited along to take part, but entry to the tournament must have been confirmed in advance.

Slots are allocated on a first come, first served basis – those wanting to take part should email sec.isa@googlemail.com to register an interest.

Chiefs added: “Mela literally means a ‘gathering’ or a ‘fair’ for all the community to get together and have some serious fun.

“Ipswich Summer Mela is a rich and colourful celebration of Asian Culture that showcases the diverse Asian Heritage.

Traditional Indian cuisine is on offer at the food village Picture: JAMES AGERTraditional Indian cuisine is on offer at the food village Picture: JAMES AGER

“Highlights this year are set to include a glittering mix of live, stunning and vibrant performances by local and national artists of Indian dance, songs, music, live Bollywood and Bhangra dancing.”

• For more information, visit the Ipswich Entertains website

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