NAPERVILLE: The second India Day Parade and Celebration organized by Naperville Indian Community Outreach (NICO) in association with City of Naperville and Indian Consulate General to observe the 70th anniversary of India’s independence was a big success.
It was Sunday morning with bright sun ready to witness a historical moment for Naperville when community started to pour in from all directions to Naperville Central High School. It was attended by thousands of participants and spectators, several of whom came from neighboring states and suburbs.
A colorful procession of over 80 entries with 40 intricately decorated floats sponsored by various communityorganizations, businesses and restaurants wended its way along the parade route in Hillside and West St in Naperville. Several dance groups representing the diverse dance forms and music of India were part of the procession which ended in Knock Park, Naperville.
The Parade Marshal was multi-award winning Indian singer Sunidhi Chauhan. Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico, Indian CG Dr. Ausaf Sayeed and Lieutenant Governor Sanguinetti were the Chief Guests of the event. Congressman Bill Foster, Senator Mike Connelly, Commissioner Tim Schneider, Mayor Gopal Lalmalani along with many other State and local elected representatives plus prominent leaders of Chicago and Naperville participated in the parade and celebrations.
Besides, over 15000 enthusiastic Indian Americans and members of Naperville community lined the procession route waving flags of the United States and India and attended the meal followed by Sunidhi concert.
Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti said that she hailed the diversity that was being celebrated, adding there is need for more diverse cultures in leadership so that all the races and colors can be adequately represented.She was in full action walking in the Parade and hand shaking each and every spectator with respectful greeting ‘Namaste’ and clicking pictures with children and families.
Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Consul General, said that the Indian American community is an integral part of United States, enriching it with color, music, food and dance. He also lauded the Indian American Community for contributing to the business and cultural heritage of the country.
He presented Outstanding Service Awards on behalf of NICO to Director Dr Nirav Shah, Director James Joseph and Secretary Hardik Bhatt of State of Illinois.
Naperville Mayor Steve, who spoke at the event, said he was pleasantly surprised to note the overwhelming response to the parade and celebration given the fact that this was the second such event by the Indian American community in Naperville. He applauded the great contribution by Indian American to United States and especially to Naperville. The Mayor also read the Proclamation signed by Governor Bruce Rauner declaring August 15 as official India’s Independence Day in State of Illinois.
Krishna Bansal, Chairman of NICO, said that this celebration is part of the outreach initiative to engage Indian American community into mainstream fabric of Naperville.
There are already many Indian American owned businesses that are looking to come to Naperville and many more looking to get involved with the city as volunteers.
Chirag Jani, Board Member said that the parade this year was second one and has surpassed expectations in both magnitude and participation. “We are constantly working to raise the bar to showcase Indian Americans as the best,” he added.
The parade was followed by a celebration and Concert event at Knock Park featuring food, jewelry, apparel, music and dance. Kick-off the celebration was with the strong rendition of US National Anthem by High School Senior Avni Limdi and Indian National Anthem by singer Nipa Shah.
Viral Shah, NICO Treasurer stated that the event was free for public. This was made possible with the help of over 50 sponsors including Patel Brothers/SWADas Grand Sponsor and Wintrust Bank as Event Sponsor.
The Parade and Celebration continued with concert by the highly acclaimed Indian playback singer, Sunidhi Chauhan. She was supported by a state-of-the-art symphony orchestra, leading musicians, and talented vocalists, performing live and mesmerizing Bollywood music lovers. The singing sensation kick-started the scintillating evening with unforgettable melody, always raging in the hearts of music lovers, and super hit songs.
The audience was mesmerized for over two hours with a fusion of singing by talented of Sunidhi and the music of her team. “What a beautiful performance by Sunidhi the lead singer and her team.
This is what music is all about; it touched the souls, regardless of language, color, creed, and geographical boundaries”, said Matt Gambs, an American in the audience, who seemed to have enjoyed the evening as thoroughly as his counterparts and Indian Americans.
The successful culmination of the event was also a tribute to members of the NICO team, who were led from the front by Krishna Bansal along with Board Members Chirag Jani, Dharmisth Patel, Dinkar Karumuri, Gautam Grover, Keyur Shah, Madhur Limdi, Narayan Tata, Rahul Saigal, Saily Joshi, Shammi Mittal, Vasavi Chakka, Vinod Vasisth and Viral Shah and a strong army of Volunteers.
Krishna Bansal specially recognized and thanked sponsors, partners, dignitaries, volunteers and everyone who attended the event. He promised to be back next year with an India Day with an even better program and urged everyone to join the outreach efforts and encouraged to visit www.napervilleindian.com for more information.
Ashfaq Husein Syed