India Fest returns to St. Paul after break due to COVID-19 restrictions

After holding a slimmed down festival last year due to COVID-19 restrictions, India Fest will return to St. Paul this weekend. 

The free event is the largest celebration of Indian culture and tradition in Minnesota. Organizers say that what began as a festival with just a few families, has grown to more than 20,000 people. 

"So this fest actually started way back in 1974," said Suyash Jain. Jain is the president of the Indian Association of Minnesota. 

He says that what began as a small community event in the Twin Cities has grown by a lot. 

"There’s over 60,000 Asian Indians and the population is still growing. We are the second-largest Asian ethnic group in the state of Minnesota," says Jain. This year's fest marks a milestone - 75 years of freedom. 

"The fest is all about sharing more about India and also celebrating India’s independence from England, so August 15 is India Independence Day," says Jain.

Held on the Minnesota Capitol grounds, the free event will feature food, exhibits, music, and dance. 

"Dance music, performing arts, visual arts - they’re all part of Indian culture in everyday life," says Rita Mustaphi, who is the artistic director of Katha Dance Theatre in St. Louis Park.

Before taking the stage at India Fest, many dancers get their start here. 

"Believe it or not the world is getting smaller and smaller. We must know our neighbors and what better way to get to know your neighbor than through their art," says Mustaphi.

"At the end of the day it's very fulfilling and very satisfying just to be able to showcase our culture to the community at large and also in the same process, learn about other cultures as well," says Jain.

India Fest goes from 11a.m.-9 p.m. and the Metro Transit will provide free rides. For more info click HERE.