Bhubaneswar’s grand .FEST 2023 bids adieu

Bhubaneswar: The second edition of .FEST, held in the backdrop of the 2023 Hockey World cup, has concluded on a grand scale, with visitors from across the country taking part in cultural, musical, food and storytelling festivities held in the city of Bhubaneswar for one last time this year.

Inaugurated on the 15th of this month, more than 6 lakh people attended the fest over the last 15 days with an average daily footfall of over forty thousand at the IDCO Exhibition Ground.

Helmed by the Vice-chairman of Bhubaneswar Development Authority, Balwant Singh, the festival has meticulously panned out throughout the 15 days, with utmost safety, security and cleanliness through a seamless cooperation of various authorities like BMC, the Police Force and the Traffic Police Force of Bhubaneswar. The festival also witnessed major support from the Odisha Tourism department and the Odisha Mining Corporation.

Speaking on the event’s successful conclusion, Balwant Singh, Vice-Chairman, Bhubaneswar Development Authority said, “The BDA planned this year’s festival to give residents of Bhubaneswar a unique experience, to which all segments of the community has constantly responded enthusiastically. With the .FEST we take a unique approach to promote fostering inclusive cities with life in it and not just infrastructure heavy development. A truly liveable city where everyone can enjoy safely without great barriers of socio-economic & political differences. A city which is meant for everyone who aspires to be a good human.”

During Bhubaneswar’s grand .FEST 2023, the people attended various events catering to food, entertainment, art, and natural beauty such as Bhubaneswar Live, BhuFeSto, Trails, and Sebe-Au-Ebe among others. Tourists and citizens have witnessed some enthralling moments including a lineup of splendid performances by leading Bollywood and regional musicians, along with a few international musicians.

This year’s festival saw around 2000 people turn up for over 80 various trails curated by Ekamrawalk in three categories namely Nature trails, Food trails and Museum Trails. .FEST 2023 also hosted Sebe-Au-Ebe (Then & Now), a photo exhibition of over 450 pictures showcasing the transformational journey of Bhubaneswar, which was curated by Shri Ramakanta Samantaray. It witnessed the presence of around 4-5 thousand people everyday.

The International Food Festival was enjoyed by the masses to the uptimum, where around 80–90 varieties of international cuisines from the 16 Hockey World Cup participating countries were offered as part of the food extravaganza. This included a total of six international stalls and 24 state stalls of various states of India that were set up to present international and regional delicacies.

The event also featured 4 government-run stalls with cuisine participation from Millet Mission to Mission Shakti to Koraput Café among others. Curated by the Hotel & Restaurant Association of Odisha, the International Food Festival was a super hit as the entire food bonanza has created a total business of around INR 2 crore throughout the fortnight long festival and witnessed the presence of around 18-20 thousand people everyday.

Another major attraction at this year’s .FEST was Bhubaneswar’s 1st ever Night Flea Market which witnessed the presence of around 7-10 thousand people everyday and was curated by Sonal N More of the OCAL & ALBA.

The Flea Market featured more than 270 stalls of local artisans, new-age designers, entrepreneurs, and alike which made a total business of around INR 1 crore through the fortnight long festival.

The Night Flea Market also hosted 3 stages, one in each of the sections that provided a platform to more than 800 other regional artists who entertained the populace of Bhubaneswar with a host of regional performances in Sambalpuri Folk, Dhemsa Dance, Ghumura, Paika Akhada, Nabadurga Dance, Jodi Shankha and many more modern, fun and unique performances as well like local bands, magicians, dance groups etc.