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At the art of Mela
PREPARATIONS for this year's Mela are well under way and members of the Swindon Inter-Active Arts Service have been playing their part.
They spent yesterday preparing more than 100 mini elephant shapes using glue and bottle tops. On Saturday, they will be put in the crafts section of the Mela, which takes place on September 14, for children to decorate themselves.
It is the idea of the group leader Dorothy Clarke.
“In India, at big parades people decorate real elephants and parade them through the town,” she said. “We can’t get real elephants in Swindon but this will be the next best thing.
“It will be a great chance on the day for children to use their creativity and art skills.”
The group provides arts activities for adults with learning difficulties.
As well as bringing along the elephants, they will also be performing songs from Nikinana.
Gary White, 43, is a regular attendee and says the Mela will be a big day for everyone.
He said: “I’ve really enjoyed gluing the elephants and it will be good when they get painted on the day.
“I’m really looking forward to getting up on stage in front of everyone.”
This will be the third year that SwIAS has been involved in Mela and it also tries to play a part in all the big festivals in the town.
“It’s a great opportunity not only for them to get out and about but also to show the people of Swindon they can contribute something to the town,” said Bruce Clarke, who is one of the day’s organisers. “It is an absolutely great group that encourages high activity and involvement as well as artistic skills.”
The final pieces are coming together for the event and despite early doubts as to whether it would go ahead, this is predicted to be the best year yet.
“We did have a few early problems but they have all been sorted out and we are ready to go,” said Bruce. “It has been a great team effort and I want to thank everyone who has helped to make it happen.
“The Swindon Mela is for the people of the town and it only goes ahead because of these people.”
This is the 11th year the festival will be taking place and it remains one of the South West’s biggest free festivals. Organisers do ask that people make a small donation on the door.
Bruce said: “We want to make sure the Mela stays as big as it is.”
SwIAS will be performing at 2.40pm on the main stage.
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