20 years of Bay Area’s pride
Sonu Sood lends glamour to Indiafest
FREMONT, CA: The Festival of India and Parade began as a local event in the Bay Area 20 years ago. Today it has grown to become a national event attracting participants from as far away as New York and Chicago, as well as across Canadian border.
Hosted by the Federation of Indian Associations of Northern California (FIA), the cultural celebration of the 20th Annual Festival of India and Parade was held with great pride and patriotism on August 18 and 19 in Fremont, California. The location was the same as every year with a little change in route to allow more people to enjoy the Parade. More than 50,000 people participated in the event.
The three-day event kicked off with a flag-hoisting ceremony on Thursday August 16 in the city of San Jose. City Councilor Ash Kalra organized this annual event at the City Hall which was attended by local city officials and FIA executive board members.
On August 18, at 10 am, a free Health Fair was organized. It was attended by over 1500 people who came to take advantage of the free medical services. People started forming lines for free blood sugar level testing before the Health Fair started. This year the focus was on preventive health care.
Nutrametrix consultants were very busy in their booth explaining the concept and advising the visitors to adopt preventive techniques and go for natural supplements. The Fremont Hindu temple runs the preventive health care program every Sunday morning. Many Hindu devotees have benefited from this program.
Oakland children’s hospital also participated in the Health Fair. Its representative shared information about Thalassemia outreach program. Many local physicians came forward to provide free services. Some of the doctors who participated were Dr. Bhandari, Dr Chaddha, Dr Shakira Karipini, Dr. Ahmed Sadiq. It was also attended by Dr. Romesh Japra and Dr. Dhillon.
The most awaited event of the Gala Parade was on Sunday August 19. Grand Marshal Sonu Sood led the parade with FIA Chairman Dr. Romesh Japra. The Parade route was changed this year. It was actually on the main street on Paseo Padra Parkway Street. Therefore more people were able to enjoy the Parade.
The following guests took part in the Parade: Senator Ellen Corbett, Ash Kalra – City Council member, San Jose; Kansen Chiu – City Council member, San Jose; Xavier Compos – City Council member, San Jose; Anu Natrajan – City Council member, Fremont; Teressa Cox – Ohlone College Board and others. They were also present at the Banquet and enjoyed every bit of it.
Consul General of India Mr N. Parthsarathi came for the Banquet and Parade with family. Consul Community Affairs, Information and Culture Mr Anand Kumar Jha came for the Parade. Consul (Consular and Commerce) Mr. N.P. Singh came for the Banquet.
The parade was coordinated by Mr. Deepak Chhabra, who said, “When we start nothing is sure but at the end, every time, it just turns out perfect, and that is the beauty of this event. It gives immense pleasure to do this event year after year. The floats represent different states and present different cultural events.”
Banquet dinner was on Sunday August 19 at the Airport Garden Hotel in the city of San Jose. Government officials, sponsors and guests attended this event. Guests and sponsors were awarded for their continuous support. They received the awards from Grand Marshal Sonu Sood.
The evening was enjoyed with lavish food. There was musical performance by Indian Idol, Mohit, and dance performance by group as a tribute to the Grand Marshal on the famous song number Munni from Dabangg.
Sponsors who made this event possible are State Farm Insurance, Bank of West, McDonald’s, P G & E, Meri West Credit Union, New York Life , Wells Fargo, India Post, Nurture Kids, PCA, DISH network, Comcast, Vonage, Summer Hills Homes and Robsonshomes etc. The sponsors all were present at the Parade.
Apart from the cultural programs, there were over 120 booths exhibiting arts and crafts, literature, clothing and jewelry, ethnic food, and businesses. Something new this year was the addition of kids’ rides and other fun activities.
Commenting on the success of the Festival, an organizer said, “This is our way of passing on the torch of our pride in our traditions to the future generations of American Indian youth.”
India Post News Service