Kensington is home to a large Bengali population. There was, in fact, even some recent controversy when a Bengali member of the local community board, Abu Khaliquzzaman, wanted to change the name of the neighborhood to Banglatown, something other members thought would distance other local cultures. All traces of controversy seemed absent this past weekend when the Bangladeshi Mela, a festival celebrating the Bangladesh culture, arrived in Kensington.
While only closing down two blocks of Beverley Road for the event, the entire feel of the neighborhood was transformed. Within the festival area there was little to no English spoken, and even the posters announcing the event were printed in Bengali. Local residents milled around in everything from brightly colored saris to black hijabs. Western garb was definitely in the minority.
As with most festivals, vendors spread out over the street. Clothing, jewelry, toys and food were all sold to eager customers. A large stage with performers and music was the main attraction, and raffle tickets could be bought as a way of helping combat poverty in Bangladesh. Overall the festival was a success and will hopefully return next year.