Almost 10,000 people attended Ottawa’s SouthAsianFest, which was held outside City Hall over the weekend.

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Sumayra Choudhury barely slept on Friday night.

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The young and aspiring Bollywood dancer was too nervous and excited to handle a restful sleep the night before she and her best friend made their stage debut in front of hundreds at Ottawa’s SouthAsianFest on Saturday.

“I was nervous, but at the same time very happy,” she said, draped in an elegant blue sari with her mother, Mahjabin Sultana, while walking through the town hall park and admiring the footage. and the sounds of Ottawa’s South Asian culture. hot and sunny Saturday afternoon.

“It’s fun, we love it,” Sultana said. “This is why we are here.”

The free festival included lots of musical performances, henna designers, clothing and jewelry, and of course, lots of food.

“We’re not just a mess,” said Meeta Narula, the festival’s volunteer coordinator.

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Bollywood dancer Sumayra Choudhury with her mother, Mahjabin Sultana, at SouthAsianFest.
Bollywood dancer Sumayra Choudhury with her mother, Mahjabin Sultana, at SouthAsianFest. Photo by Adam Feibel /Citizen of Ottawa

Fashion was a big part of the event, as many came dressed in saris and other traditional South Asian clothing. Freelance makeup artist Afia Bukhari walked around the festival site with two models to show off classic Indian bridal fashion but with a westernized twist.

“My concept was that the West meets the East,” she said. “As a makeup artist I can create anything, any type of look, but more specialized in South Asian weddings.”

Organizers said attendance rose to nearly 10,000 over the weekend, the first time the festival was held at City Hall.

“We are absolutely overwhelmed by the number of responses we have received,” said Meeta Narula, the festival’s volunteer coordinator.

Many participants were asked to complete surveys on themselves to gain information about members of Ottawa’s South Asian community and help bring them together, she said.

“For us, it’s about making sure everyone in the community… is kept involved and in the loop.”

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SouthAsianFest volunteers pose on Saturday August 15th.
SouthAsianFest volunteers pose on Saturday August 15th. Photo by Adam Feibel /Citizen of Ottawa
Women visit jewelry vendors at SouthAsianFest on Saturday August 15, 2015.
Women visit jewelry vendors at SouthAsianFest on Saturday August 15, 2015. Photo by Ashley Fraser /Citizen of Ottawa
Makeup artist Afia Bukhari poses with models Tamica Adolph, left, and Kassandra Ariel Sherry, right, at SouthAsianFest on Saturday August 15.
Makeup artist Afia Bukhari poses with models Tamica Adolph, left, and Kassandra Ariel Sherry, right, at SouthAsianFest on Saturday August 15. Photo by Adam Feibel /Citizen of Ottawa
Three-year-old Chloe Tanguay chills with her drink under an umbrella while her family eats lunch at SouthAsianFest.
Three-year-old Chloe Tanguay chills with her drink under an umbrella while her family eats lunch at SouthAsianFest. Photo by Ashley Fraser /Citizen of Ottawa
Traditional cuisine is served at SouthAsianFest.
Traditional cuisine is served at SouthAsianFest. Photo by Adam Feibel /Citizen of Ottawa



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