Tuesday, July 27

Christmas festival

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The season of lit-up streets, delicious cakes and exciting gifts is here again. This year’s Christmas celebrations started early with the ninth edition of Kolkata Christmas Festival, organised by the tourism department in association with members of the Christian community, getting off to a rollicking start at Allen Park.

For the two-week-long festival, 25 stalls selling goodies, cakes, chocolates and other delicacies, along with Christmas decorations and accessories, have been lined up along Park Street. One such stall — Tamil Christian Delicacy & Bev — is selling home-made South Indian food like idlis and vadas. Stall keeper Sakir Mir said: “Our stall is by Saffron Cup, and we also sell a variety of flavoured tea along with the food items.”

Nigel Patrick Smith and his daughter Natasha, residents of Picnic Garden, have been attending the festival since 2011. Munching on a fish chop at one of the stalls, Nigel said: “This carnival is one of the best things about Christmas in the city. We wait for the entire year for these stalls to come up. The spirit of Christmas comes from the soul and preparing for this season is all the more fun with all these festivities.”

The colourful and glittery things Sunil Mahato is selling have made his stall a hit among kids . “I prepare my stall 20 days prior to Christmas and I always get a good number of customers streaming in till the end of the year,” he said.

Dignitaries like MP Derek O’Brien, IAS officer Nandini Chakraborty and police commissioner Anuj Sharma had attended the opening ceremony on Monday. Usha Uthup and Shayne Hyrapiet performed at the inaugural event. Numerous programmes — cultural performances, quizzes, carol singing, live music by school and college students — have been lined up for the next few days.

Debosmita Bhattacharyay, a regular at the carnival, was ecstatic with the arrangements. “This year seems bigger and brighter than the last few years and I’m very excited to be here again.” The festival is a boost for business at Park Street ahead of Christmas, said Pratap Daryanani, owner of Oasis. “The lights are fantastic and the food stalls are bringing the crowd in. It couldn’t have been better,” said Daryanani.


Source: Times of India

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