Mela and Olympic Party planned for City

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Birmingham combines Olympic Torch and Mela celebrations

NEXT Summer, over 100,000 people are set to join in community celebrations as the arrival of the Olympic Torch will be marked simultaneously alongside the Birmingham & Sandwell Mela.

Sandwell Council, Raaj FM, Sandwell Leisure Trust, Sandwell College, The Public, the Albion Foundation and Sandwell Police are among a host of organisations working together to hold a weekend of sport, music and community celebration on Saturday 30 June and Sunday 1 July 2012.

Victoria Park, Smethwick, will play host to a two-day extravaganza, building on the success of this year’s inaugural Mela event at the park which attracted crowds of over 40,000 people.

On one of the hottest weekends of the year, thousands enjoyed music, stalls, sport, community showcases and a funfair, exceeding all expectations and bringing visitors from all over the region into Sandwell.

Last month (November), the London Organising Committee of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) announced that the Olympic Torch would pass through Oldbury, West Bromwich and Smethwick on June 30 2012 on its way to Birmingham.

Sandwell Council leader Councillor Darren Cooper said: “We are very excited about the weekend of June 30 and July 1 next year, which is shaping up to be a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime occasion.

“The big event will take place in Victoria Park, Smethwick, over both days, celebrating the Olympic Torch coming through Sandwell and the fantastic Mela. It’s great to be working with Raaj FM and a wide range of organisations on this.

“We are also planning to hold events for the community in Oldbury and West Bromwich on the Saturday, the day the Olympic Torch is carried through Sandwell.

“We’ll be announcing more details in the New Year and working with the community to make this an unforgettable weekend for everyone.”

The Mela celebrations over the two days will see a mix of music, stalls, sport, arts, community showcases and a funfair. With international artists mixed with home grown talent, musicians will showcase their talent alongside contributions from community sports, arts and cultural groups.

Over the next few months, Raaj FM will be preparing for the Mela alongside event production company Remarkable Productions and Events, which produced last year’s inaugural event.

Gurpal Singh, Raaj FM manager, said: “After the overwhelming success of this year’s Mela, we cannot wait for the Birmingham & Sandwell Mela 2012 where we are anticipating huge crowds.

“The exciting prospect of our event coinciding with the arrival of the Olympic Torch has enhanced our ambition to make this event a Summer showpiece that the whole of the West Midlands can be proud of.

“With entertainment coming from top international music arts mixed with home-grown talent, to stalls, funfair and of course sport – which will honour the prestigious Olympic Torch coming through Sandwell – the Mela will be an event not to be missed.”

The street by street details of the Olympic Torch Relay route will be announced later this year.

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