This free event will bring Indian culture and cuisine to Hampton Roads

Taste of India is one of the largest Asian Indian festivals in Virginia. (Southside Daily/Courtesy of ODU)
Taste of India is one of the largest Asian Indian festivals in Virginia. (Southside Daily/Courtesy of ODU)

The 13th annual Taste of India festival, to be held at Old Dominion University’s Ted Constant Convocation Center, will bring the culture and cuisine of India to Hampton Roads on April 27.

The festival showcases the diversity and pageantry of Indian culture with food, vendors and an Indian fusion and Bhangra dance competition that has grown to include nine college teams from across the eastern U.S.

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission and parking is free.

Old Dominion has been a sponsor of Taste of India since its inception. Vinod Agarwal, professor of economics and director of the University’s Economic Forecasting Project, is one of the organizers.

“This event gives residents a taste of India without leaving Hampton Roads,” Agarwal said. “As the world becomes a smaller and smaller place to in which to live, we need to be aware of cultural diversity around the globe by learning to ask questions and be inclusive.”

Taste of India is one of the largest Asian Indian festivals in Virginia, attracting crowds of 7,000-10,000. The most popular, single-day cultural event organized by a single ethnic group in the region, Taste of India is a collaborative effort among hundreds of Indians living in Hampton Roads.

This year’s theme is “Rivers: The Lifelines of India,” which serves as a reminder to nurture and protect these natural resources not just in India, but worldwide.

Cultural programming will run throughout the day, culminating with the dance competition at 2:30 p.m. The contest, which awards $1,000 to the winning team, grew from demonstrations of traditional Indian dance.

Educational activities will also be conducted throughout the day, and a $5,000 Taste of India scholarship will be awarded to a senior graduating from a Hampton Roads high school.

For more information about the event, see the Taste of India website.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.