The joint celebration of the founding of Mozart's and the birth of Mozart has gotten so big over its 16 years that it's no longer just a celebration.

Now, it's a festival, according to Anand Saha, co-owner with wife Doris of Mozart's Bakery and European Piano Café, 2885 N. High St.

This year's observation of a birthday and an anniversary will take place on Saturday, Jan. 29, two days after the famed Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart came into the world in 1756 and 16 years after the Sahas founded a bakery and café they named after him.

It will run from noon to 10 p.m. and feature complimentary European pastries and canapés, as well as live classical music performed by local artists.

Anand Saha explained last week that he lived for a time in Austria, which is where his wife is from. The two met in Switzerland in 1989 while he was studying hotel management and she was completing her training as a pastry chef.

The Sahas moved to Columbus in 1995 and "risked everything," according to Anand's announcement of this year's founding event, to open their own bakery.

The couple's joint connection with Austria led them to call their business Mozart's, after the country's most famous citizen.

The birthday party for namesake Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was first held the following year.

"It's a great way of saying thank you to the people," Saha said.

A few hundred people turned out for the first anniversary-birthday event, he said. It now routinely draws crowds of over 2,000, according to the announcement.

"Every year it gets bigger and bigger," Saha said. "I don't call it a celebration anymore; I call it a festival."

One of the high points of the annual daylong gathering is the cutting of a birthday cake by a guest of honor. Past years have seen this duty performed by the likes of Mayors Greg Lashutka and Michael B. Coleman, Austrian diplomat Friedl Bohm, State Sen. Jim Hughes, former Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy and former Columbus Symphony Orchestra conductor Alessandro Siciliano.

This year's guest of honor will be recently re-elected State Rep. John Patrick Carney (D-Clintonville).

"He gets the privilege of cutting the piano-shaped cake with the help of someone dressed up as little Mozart at 5:30 p.m.," Saha said. "That's always the highlight of the festival."