Thousands set to celebrate Diwali in Sunderland

Last year's Diwali festival
Last year's Diwali festival
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Bollywood beats will ring out this weekend as Sunderland celebrates Diwali.

After a successful celebration at the Museum and Winter Gardens last year which attracted more than 4,500 people, the festival promises to be even bigger and better when it takes over the National Glass Centre on Sunday.

Visitors to the free festival, which will run from 1pm to 6pm, can expect a colourful explosion of entertainment including Bollywood/Bhangra dancers, music, classical dancers, fashion show, Rangoli arts and crafts, cookery classes, yoga, stalls and more.

There will also be a chance for people to have a go at traditional dancing themselves with Bollywood and Bhangra workshops.

Organiser Kam Chera said: “The day is a celebration of colour, vibrancy, culture, diversity, joy, happiness and friendship. We had an amazing response last year with such a positive reaction from people and this year promises to be even better. There’ll be loads for people to do such as arts and crafts for the kids, Bollywood dancers and market stalls, as well as the chance for people to learn about the Diwali story.

“As well as being a very fun event, it’s a great way for people to explore Indian culture. That’s why we host the events in museums as it’s a comfortable, relaxed environment for people. It opens doors for all communities to come together and we’ve had a lot of support behind the scenes too, particularly from the Bangladeshi and Pakistani community.”

He added: “We’ve held the event a bit later this year but that’s because there were a lot of Diwali celebrations taking place elsewhere in the region.”