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From Biryani to Bollywood

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Memphis is home to more than 8,000 people of Indian descent, but don't go thinking they all share the same culture.

According to Loki Mishra, marketing director for the annual India Fest, each Indian state is like a country unto itself, with different foods, dress, and even language. About 16 of India's 28 states will be represented at the annual India Fest at the Agricenter on Saturday, August 28th.

At each state's booth, manned by local residents, attendees can sample regional foods. Insider secret: Mishra recommends the sweets from Orissa, dosa from Tamil Nadu, and tandoori chicken from Uttar Pradesh. States will even duke it out in a culture competition showcasing food, dance, and music from each region.

Bollywood is the theme for this year's festival, and attendees can watch short films on the history of Indian cinema. Chefs Vish Bhatt of the SnackBar in Oxford, Mississippi, and Chef John Bragg of Circa will lead Indian cooking demos, and plenty of vendors will be on hand peddling traditional Indian garb, jewelry, and other items.

Youngsters can dress like a Bollywood star in the kid's corner, which also will feature henna, face painting, and an Indian trivia contest.

India Fest at the Agricenter International, Saturday, August 28th, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tickets are $2 adults, $1 children, and children under 5 get in free. Information: indiafest.iamemphis.org.

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