Holi colors are thrown up into the air to celebrate the beginning of the festival. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

Holi colors are thrown up into the air to celebrate the beginning of the festival. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

9th Annual Holi Festival returns to Lake Sammamish Park

Traditional Indian festival celebrates spring.

Color, music, and laughter were in the air at Lake Sammamish State Park during the community’s 9th annual Holi Festival on March 23.

Holi is a traditional Indian festival that celebrates joy, encouraging people to forget negative feelings toward others as well as welcome the spring season. The celebration of Holi is most well known for its visual flair, as people throw color powders on each other to celebrate.

Organized by Eastside Seattle Friends and Family of the nonprofit group Ravishing Women, this year’s Holi Festival was the continuation of a long running community event.

Menka Soni, president and founder of the nonprofit Ravishing Women, said she started the local event in 2010 to bring a Holi celebration to the area. After a few years, she also began Ravishing Women, whose mission is to empower women through social outreach and promote arts, culture, diversity and inclusion. The Ravishing Youth Board managed food sales at the event as well.

The Holi Festivals have been partly intended to bring a traditional celebration to the region, but they also have been used as a fundraiser to contribute to various charities. This year, Ravishing Women is raising funds for Feed the Need to provide food for people in India.

“We are raising funds to provide nutritious meals to kids going to schools in slum areas of India,” Soni said. “All the proceeds will be donated for that.”

The event has grown drastically through the years, she said, bringing in hundreds of people not just from the Eastside but from Canada and Oregon as well. The weekend event was expected to receive more than 1,000 attendees.

Ravishing Women and Eastside Seattle Friends and Family also partnered with Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, Washington State Parks Foundation, City of Issaquah Arts and Culture Commission, Lake Sammamish State Park, the Issaquah Chapter of Trout Unlimited and 4Culture.


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Genesis Castro spreads some of the Holi colors on her dog Smokey. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

Genesis Castro spreads some of the Holi colors on her dog Smokey. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

Priyanka Pathak lifts her daughter Dia to the stage to get some Holi color. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

Priyanka Pathak lifts her daughter Dia to the stage to get some Holi color. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

The large crowd begins to follow along to the dance performed on stage. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

The large crowd begins to follow along to the dance performed on stage. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

A group of friends celebrate Holi at Lake Sammamish Park. From left: Kai Lake, Ephraim Elongo, Taniya Lake, and Abhi Trivedi. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

A group of friends celebrate Holi at Lake Sammamish Park. From left: Kai Lake, Ephraim Elongo, Taniya Lake, and Abhi Trivedi. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

Bo Stallman and Steven Bogolub throw their color at the camera. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

Bo Stallman and Steven Bogolub throw their color at the camera. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

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