This year’s Maidstone Mela is set to be the biggest yet with a weekend of festivities planned for all the family.

The Mela, which means gathering, has attracted more than 35,000 people since it began in 2003 and this year is expected to be no different as it expands for the first time into a two-day event.

On Saturday, September 12 at Mote Park from 6pm to 9pm crowds will be treated to stage performances from Bhangra singer Jassi Sidhu and Queen Tribute act Mercury. There will also be a light installation by Emergency Exit Arts.

On Sunday, September 13 at Mote Park from 1pm to 6pm there will be a schools parade, community stalls, local community acts and much more.

Cabinet Member for Community Services, Cllr Marion Ring, said: “This year is going to be packed with arts, music, dance and food from all around the world- it really is a festival of fun. What’s more it’s free to attend.”

There is a host of other activities going on throughout the town to celebrate the Mela, which this year is being supported by the Downs Mail.

· Saturday, August 22 – 11am-1pm and 2pm-3pm – Chinese Dragon making at Maidstone Library, St Faith’s Street.

· Saturday, August 29 – 11am-3pm – Gurkha food and traditions in Fremlin Walk.

· Saturday, August 29 – 10.30am-12.30pm or 1.30pm-3.30pm – Mela design workshop at Maidstone Museum.

· September 5 – 11am-3pm – music, dancing and toys in the Mall, Chequers.

· September 5 – 10.30am-12.30pm or 1.30pm-3.30pm – mela collage at Maidstone Museum

· September 5 – 11am-2pm – Funky music and fun at Springfield Library.

· September 12 – 10.30am-12.30pm or 1.30pm-3.30pm – mela collage at Maidstone Museum

Cllr Ring added: “This year there is so much to do there’s something for everyone. The Mela is an important part of Maidstone’s culture and all of these activities are a great example of people working together to bring communities together.”

The Mela is organised in partnership by Maidstone Borough Council, the North West Kent Racial Equality Council and Cohesion Plus.

Gurvinder Sandher, Director of Cohesion Plus, said: “I am really pleased with how the Maidstone Mela has developed. The Mela has evolved from a one-day celebration of music, food and dance to one which celebrates the diversity of Maidstone over several months.”