South Asian celebration slides into Surrey

Desi Dhamaka features free festivities and entertainment Saturday in Holland Park.

Jassi Sidhu will headline at the all-day

Jassi Sidhu will headline at the all-day

After a decade in Vancouver, the South Asian Family Association (SAFA) has re-vamped its summer festivities – and moved them to Surrey.

This year, the association is launching Desi Dhamaka (formerly Sawan Mela), a one-day free summer event to be held at Holland Park on Saturday (Aug. 31) from 2 p.m. until midnight (with a movie screening at 8:30 p.m).

The event will include five hours of multicultural programming, a vendor marketplace, an outdoor Bollywood movie screening, and the headlining British star Jassi Sidhu.

“After celebrating our milestone 10 years in Vancouver, we felt it was time for a change. Moving the festival into the Cultural Capital of Canada is a great way for us to expand our reach across Metro Vancouver as well as reach new audiences,” says Suki Grewal, SAFA president.

In a celebration of cultural harmony, the day’s programming promises to be full of colour, song and dance, great food and cultural wares. It will culminate with a finale performance by Sidhu.

Sidhu left the bhangra boy band B21 in 2002 to come back to audiences in 2004 with his first solo album “Reality Check.” Since then, his career has blossomed with three solo releases.

Best known for songs such as Darshan, Pabi, Ama Ni Ama, Ki Kehne, Raahe Raahe and Jaan Mangdhi, his chart-topping hits have given him a top spot in bhangra music and established him as an international star who has toured across Canada, the U.S., Singapore, Malaysia, India, Africa and Europe.

The evening will finish with SAFA’s Bollywood Under the Stars outdoor movie screening, featuring the 2009 hit Dil Bole Hadippa! starring Rani Mukherji (as Veera) and Shahid Kapoor (as Rohan). A story about gender roles in society, the plot follows a young woman who pretends to be a man to join an all-male cricket team and becomes an integral part of the squad.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs, umbrellas and blankets for the screening.

SAFA is a not-for-profit organization aimed at promoting cross-cultural harmony and positive South Asian images and role models. For more information, visit

Surrey North Delta Leader