In keeping with tradition, Malad resident Sunil Pereira, a lawyer, accompanied his family to the 7.45am service at the Mount Mary Church in Bandra on Sunday, day one of the Bandra Fair. While the Bandra Fair is a tradition for worshippers like Pereira, it has also been a long tradition for those who have been setting up stalls there.
Almost 3,000 people attended the first day of the fair, which was also the day Pawan Gupta’s Dombivli-based Guru Krupa sweets completed its 17th year. At the fair, Gupta was busy at his stall as a bevy of customers asked for popular sweets made from alphonso mangoes.
Several such stalls at the seven-day fair have been traditionally selling a range of items, from sweets, delicacies, to apparel, wax candles in the shape of human body parts, and even sewing machines. Samir Vele, sales manager of a sewing machine company, said the fair catches visitors’ attention to the machines. “For the last four years, since we started putting up a stall at the fair, we have managed to sell as many as 50 machines, ranging from Rs.6,000 to Rs.17,000 during every fair,” said Vele.
Lakshmi Jadhav’s candle stall and SK Kumar’s sweets stall have been part of the fair for more than 30 years.
The annual fair is usually a cause of concern owing to the diversion of traffic and the traffic snarls. That is why, some residents chose to stay home.
“The Bandra police have been very systematic in managing the traffic and the crowd,” said Father Anthony Fernandes, claiming that more than 50,000 people turned up for the mass at Mount Mary Basilica and for veneration in the first half of the day itself. “As many as 7,000 people attended each mass, that was conducted every 45 minutes from 5.30am,” said Fernandes.