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South Asian Food, Culture on the Menu at Jackson Heights Street Fest

By Katie Honan | August 20, 2013 3:47pm
	 Chaat, music and dance will be on display near Travers Park.  
South Asian Street Fest Celebrates Food, Culture
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JACKSON HEIGHTS — South Asian food, live music and dance will be on display at a street fair this Saturday organized by a local advocacy and development group.

The second annual Chatpati Mela, sponsored by the Chhaya Community Development Corporation, will bring a variety of food and fun to the play street next to Travers Park.

The idea for the event, according to organizer Nahadi Uddin, was to unite the community over something fun — a change from their usual advocacy work.

“There’s so much going on, and we work with a variety of issues, including workforce development and rental counseling,” she said. “We fight for these issues that are so relevant to the community’s everyday lives, but it’s also good to have a break.”

After last year’s success, Uddin said the group was determined to make it an annual event. 

“We want our members and Chhaya out there, communicating with the neighborhoods,” she said. 

Saturday’s festival will feature performers from nearly every community, including Dancing Reena, Farzana Popy and the Bangladesh Institute of the Performing Arts, as well as a henna artist.

The stage will also feature an open mic portion for teenagers to show off their talents, too.

And kids can create their own works of art thanks to tables set-up by the Queens Museum of Art

The other big feature — the one that inspired the fest’s name — will be the chaat, which are savory snacks typically served from food carts in South Asia.

There will be chaat stations of all kinds, selling food including samosa chaat, aloo tikki chaat, dahi vada and jhal muri, according to Uddin.

Lassi and chai drinks will also be sold, and they’re hoping for a shaved ice cart for dessert.

The second annual Chatpati Mela runs from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Travers Park play street, located on 78th Street between Northern Boulevard and 34th Street.