By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — The upcoming Mother Teresa India Festival aims to expose the Marshfield area to Indian culture while raising money for a local charity.
“I set up a nonprofit organization called India Mission Joy where we help orphanages and really a community in India,” said India Mission Joy founder Dennis Boucher. “We set this up five or six years ago. My first trip to India was five years ago, we went last year, and we have another trip planned for this coming year.
“Our priest from Sacred Heart, Peter Manickam — he is up in Colby now — but he had been there quite a few times, and he asked me to come. We talked about doing this and raising some money for projects over there, and that is how the whole thing got started.”
India Mission Joy funds projects that help facilitate access to quality education. The group raises funds through various activities throughout the year but relies on its annual Mother Teresa India Festival for its main support.
“This is our main fundraiser on Aug. 5,” said Boucher. “Besides having the India food, we have India workshops like the Bollywood dancing, cooking, sand art. Then we top it all off at night with the colorfest walk.”
The colorfest walk and workshops are new to the festival, which was first held at Marshfield High School in 2016 and consisted of a meal and entertainment.
“We (also) brought back some stuff from India that will be for sale. We have a clothing place where people can dress up in saris, India clothing, and have pictures taken, henna painting, and then there will be some raffles going on and just other ways to raise money,” Boucher added. “It’s free admission to get in. If they want to eat, there is a cost. If they want to go on the colorfest walk, there is a cost.”
The venue is also new this year as the festival is being held at the Central Wisconsin State Fairgrounds.
“It is just easier doing it at the fairgrounds, a little bit more room. And with the walk and stuff happening, we just couldn’t use the high school the way we wanted to use it properly. It works out better with the building at the fairgrounds,” said Boucher.
The Mother Teresa India Festival will take place Aug. 5 at the Central Wisconsin State Fairgrounds from noon to 7 p.m.
For more information on Mother Teresa India Festival or India Mission Joy, visit indiamissionjoy.org.