India fest spices up saturday

Billboard advertising India fest.

Michael Anschutz

On Aug, 29 Topeka residents turned out for India Fest 2015 to experience Indian culture and support a local charity.

The charity, the Topeka Shawnee County Fraternal Order of Police Foundation, Inc., provided a band to play as part of the day’s performances. This along with Indian music, dances and local musical artists provided music for people at the outdoor vendor tents.

One quite popular stall was providing Mehndi, better know to Americans as Henna, painting. The paste leaves a stain on the skin of various darkness depending on how long it is left on and is like an impermanent, painless tattoo.

Mishal Fiaz, sophomore at Washburn, was painting henna designs at a stall with local henna artist Vidhi Shah. According to Fiaz the designs can last up to a maximum of two months. Her favorite parts of India fest were the music playing in the background and the smell of food cooking.

Fiaz is Pakistani and she explained that between India and Pakistan “the biggest difference is a religious difference. Pakistanis are typically Islamic and India is Hindu…very similar clothing and types of foods,” said Fiaz.

Washburn students also attended India fest. Mary Stithem is sophomore vocal performance major who was there.

Stithem is attending a faculty led trip to India during the upcoming winter break. Of India fest Stithem said, “I really like how they have little snippets of things like the henna and the eyebrows, the music, I think it’s just awesome to get a taste of the culture.”

Stithem also talked about the eyebrow stand. Explaining the lady running it uses threads and sorts of rip them, adding, “it kind of hurts but it took two minutes at most and my eyebrows look fantastic,” Stithem said.

Senior art and theatre major Lexi Lemons also attended. She thought that it was great that the fest had grown since previous visits and to be able to celebrate the culture.

“I’m a little biased, but I absolutely love The Globe,” Lemons said when asked to pick a favorite vendor. “They have a really great flavor to their stuff.”

“Each time you come you get to know specific people more and more and you kind of create that annual relationship,” Lemons said, encouraging those who did not attend the fest this year to try to next year.