The day may have been overcast, with sudden bursts of light showers, but that did not stop people from coming to the annual Ward End Park Mega Mela.

The park, sandwiched between Washwood Heath, Saltley, Alum Rock, and Ward End, was laid out with tents offering exotic dishes from Pakistan, Punjabi music on a stage, a fun fair for the children, and over on a vast open plain was an area which showcased the sport of tent-pegging.

Tent pegging is an ancient Asian cavalry sport where riders use a lance to pierce and pick up a pinned target off the ground. There were various teams in attendance, some of them with riders in their teens, and it was very positive to see ladies taking part in the sport. The horses, all of them beautifully decorated with team colours and insignia, looked relaxed and at ease before each charge.

Tent pegging is an ancient Asian cavalry sport where riders use a lance to pierce and pick up a pinned target off the groundRangzeb Hussain
Tent pegging is an ancient Asian cavalry sport where riders use a lance to pierce and pick up a pinned target off the ground

Local families, including children, watched with excitement as the horses cantered by after each gallop over the green grass.

In another area of the park there was an under-14 football match taking place with girls and boys in both teams. A number of parents were asking the coaches how to enter their sons and daughters into the football club.

Football being played in Ward End Park during the Mega Mela 2018Rangzeb Hussain
Football being played in Ward End Park during the Mega Mela 2018

Many local families have little or no information about what kind of children’s activities are taking place in the local area and the Mela offered an opportunity for people to discover more and ask questions. There were also local emergency services in attendance with tables which offered free health advice, and gave details about careers and opportunities for the youth.

In the middle of the park there was a stage with Punjabi singers entertaining the crowds. Despite the rain, the audience stood under umbrellas and enjoyed the free show. The booming Bhangra beats kept the atmosphere warm and lively.

Horse riding entertaining crowds at the Ward End Park Mega MelaRangzeb Hussain
Horse riding entertaining crowds at the Ward End Park Mega Mela

This celebration of art, music, sport, and food from another continent brought people together in the heart of Birmingham.

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