Amidst the rumbling and revving engines during Thunder in the Valley, the faint sound Indian music comes from Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center in Cambria City during the Mini Indian Food Festival.
The dance group Bollywood Believe dances to the music while ethnic Indian food is served and traditional henna hand tattoos are given.
The group consists of four girls ages 11-14. The group started performing in 2005 to celebrate different Indian festivals such as Holi and Diwali.
The four girls, Ishika Singh, Aditi Sridhar, Nadia Khan and Tulsi Shrivastava, choreograph their own dances. Their motto is, “Bollywood! … At its best.”
The girls have performed more than 15 times in the Johnstown area, including at Pitt-Johnstown for their International Student Association Program.
Along with Bollywood Believe will be authentic Indian food cooked and prepared by Rani Murali, who has been volunteering with Bottle Works since 1989.
Murali has cooked and taught classes at Bottle Works and has also done exhibits.
Rosemary Pawlowski, executive director at Bottle Works, said Murali did an exhibit about her own wedding. The display was very traditional and formal, Pawlowski said. At the festival, though, Murali will use her cooking skills when she fries and serves Samosas.
“Samosas are puff pastries filled with potatoes and peas that have been cooked with spices like cumin, coriander powder, turmeric and onion,” Murali explained. “They will be served with two chutneys, one with fresh cilantro and the second will be sweet and sour.”
Murali said the dish is authentic to northern India; however, its popularity has spread throughout India and the world.
She said she thought it would be nice to introduce another ethnic food, especially with all of the other food vendors at Thunder in the Valley.
Murali and her Indian association decided to work with Bottle Works again this year. They used to work together and do events like this somewhat frequently, according to Murali. Murali, her Indian association and Bottle Works agreed that Thunder in the Valley weekend would be the best time to do it.
“It takes a lot of time and effort to put something like this together. This year I am doing it on a smaller scale by myself,” Murali said.
The Mini-Indian Food Festival is at Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center in Cambria City from 1 to 4 p.m. on June 23. Bollywood Believe will dance on the hour with opportunities for communal dancing.