On Saturday my friend Dolma and I set out before 8:00 to walk out to the Hanifl Center and put up the stall signs. The Mela was timed to begin at 10:00. It took us all that time to get around to every food and handicraft booth to put up the signs according to my rough hand-drawn map. The vendors were beginning to arrive and unload their wares. All the food vendors had to carry their gas burners and cylinders, ingredients, serving plates, etc., up the switched-back path to the campground. The handicraft vendors had huge boxes and bags full of things. Ram Chander had box after box of snack foods and drinks, very popular with the younger kids who don’t go to the bazaar so often.
At 10:00 the preliminary entertainment began, followed by a few remarks by the Principal and introduction of the chief guest, Sue Hanifl. Throughout the day musicians and dancers performed in the stage area on the campground. People crowded around the food and handicraft stalls. Hotdog vendors roamed with trays of hotdogs (really chicken kababs, quite tasty).
Remembering the June Sale of years ago, I was struck by the similarities and the differences. A high-school class still sells ice cream, but it is purchased, not hand-made. Handicrafts were provided by a variety of NGO and commercial vendors, not mission groups from the plains. And American candy was sold by Ram Chander (Snickers, Kit-Kat, et. al.) not imported by parents. Staff members still work hard. More alumni are around (classes of 1964, 1984, and 1989 had special reunions on the weekend). All-in-all it was a good, if tiring, day for all concerned. It was more complicated to do it at the Hanfl Center, but the theme of Rural Villages was well served by the location. Maybe next year it will be back at the Quad.