The 11th annual Vaisakhi Mela at the Sikh temple, Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara, on Lattingtown Road in Glen Cove was held last month, attracting people from New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut to the biggest celebration of its kind in the tri-state area.
Though the day was hot and muggy with a threat of rain, hundreds of people drove to district schools to be bused over to the event on the 15-acre lot. The day’s festivities included a large variety of Indian food, live music and entertainment, pony rides and face painting—all free.
Vendors were also selling clothing, jewelry and accessories for bargain prices. The majority of the festival attendees were Indian, dressed in brightly colored saris and traditional clothing, who look forward to the festival every year as a way to celebrate their culture.
Mayor Reggie Spinello and Councilwoman Pamela Panzenbeck were also in attendance.
“The Sikh family has always been so kind and generous to the City of Glen Cove, and for that matter anyone who needs a meal, a helping hand or compassion,” said Spinello.
He noted that the temple donated “tons and tons of food” to people who did not have any electricity during Hurricane Sandy.
“This place holds a special place in my heart,” he said. “I’m very grateful that every year we’re able to help hold this event.”
Manmeet K. Lamba, general secretary, said to Spinello, “As I’ve gotten to know you, I’ve become fond of you and appreciate everything you’ve done for us, but today you have actually won my heart because you dressed in the Sikh culture’s color.”
Glen Cove Gurdwara is a nonprofit, membership owned organization of Sikhs. Offering free food, water bottles and entertainment to event attendees goes along with the Sikh philosophy, according to event volunteer Jasleen Sabharwal.
“Our members thrive by being wise with money, living generously and peacefully,” said Sabharwal. “At Glen Cove Gurdwara, we believe generosity is an expression of faith. We provide our members with volunteer opportunities to share their time and talent where they live, work and worship.”
The one way the temple was seeking to raise money was through raffle prizes, the grand prize of which was a new car or $10,000 cash.
The festival is held annually in Glen Cove at the end of June. To learn more, visit www.sikhsangat.com.