India will be featured as the host country of Ethnic Expo, presented by title sponsor First Financial Bank, in downtown Columbus. The two-day festival, which celebrates the city’s diversity and rich cultural traditions, takes place Oct. 11-12 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. both days around Columbus City Hall.
The Indian Association of Columbus will be the leading group to represent India. The community is invited to experience the sights, sounds, and beauty of India in the host country corner (intersection of First and Washington streets) and through free activities and performances, featuring regional and global talent.
The City Hall plaza acts as the main stage for Ethnic Expo. The performances and activities will be enhanced this year by Soft Civic, a temporary installation designed by architect Bryony Roberts for the Exhibit Columbus exhibition. Instructors from the Columbus yoga community will lead a children’s and adult’s yoga class Friday evening. Bollywood Unlimited will teach an energetic Bollywood dance class Saturday afternoon. No prior yoga or dance experience is required.
Headlining Ethnic Expo Oct. 11 at 8 p.m. will be Kiran Ahluwalia, global award-winning singer, songwriter. Ahluwalia is a modern exponent of the vocal traditions of India and Pakistan, which she both honors and departs from in masterful, myriad ways. Her original compositions embody her Indian heritage, while embracing influences from West African blues, contemporary jazz, and more. Ahluwalia has won two JUNO Awards (Canada’s Grammys), two Canadian Folk Music Awards, and a Songlines Award in the U.K.
The Tiptonians, Columbus-based pop/alt rock style band, will close the festival weekend Oct. 12 at 8 p.m. The Tiptonians were crowned the 2015 champions of the Columbus Got Talent competition.
Along with India, Ethnic Expo vendors typically represent more than 30 countries. There is still time to apply. The application deadline for International Food and Bazaar vendors is Aug. 31. Applications, rules and regulations may be found under “Get Involved” at www.ethnicexpo.org.
India will also be celebrated in the Ethnic Expo Parade on Oct. 12 as the leading float, along with other local and culturally diverse participants. Individuals, families, schools, veterans, neighborhood groups and community organizations are all invited to participate in the Ethnic Expo Parade. The deadline to sign up for the parade is Sept. 20. It is free to enter. The parade will begin at 11 a.m. on Oct. 12 and end in time to enjoy lunch at the festival. Entries must be staged at 10 a.m. to be considered for judging for the six parade award categories. The application, rules, and regulations may also be found under “Get Involved” at www.ethnicexpo.org.
Ethnic Expo is organized by the City of Columbus and is made possible by generous donations from the presenting sponsor, First Financial Bank, for the tenth year in a row, and other sponsors including Coca-Cola, ERMCO Electric and Milestone. This activity is also made possible, in part, with support from the Indiana Arts Commission, the Columbus Area Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
“First Financial is proud to be a part of the Columbus community. We are honored to participate again in the annual Ethnic Expo, which focuses on gathering together to showcase our hometown’s diverse culture and heritage,” said Al Roszczyk, Regional President for First Financial Bank. “First Financial is proud to be the title sponsor for the tenth year and our team looks forward to celebrating with the community this October.”
“Please join the City of Columbus in celebrating our bountiful cultures and heritages from around the world. Congratulations to India for serving as this year’s host country. We look forward to experiencing their customs and traditions in the host country corner,” said Mayor Jim Lienhoop.
The fall festival is family-friendly and features live performances of international music and dancing, over 50 authentic cuisine and bazaar market vendors, and free children’s activities.
For more information regarding Ethnic Expo activities or how you can be involved, please visit www.ethnicexpo.org or contact Katherine Dunn, Community Development Project Specialist for the City of Columbus, at (812) 376-2520.