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Festival of Globe brings in Dussehra-Diwali Season with gusto

Festival of Globe brings in Dussehra-Diwali Season with gusto
October 10
12:10 2018

Lakshmi Iyer

India Post News service

PLEASANTON, CA: As fall begins, the festive season starts rolling in, too. Raksha Bandhan, Janmashtami and Ganesh Chaturthi, three major festivals for Hindus, have already started the celebratory cycle.

Navratri is just about to begin, ending with Dussehra next Thursday, and Diwali is not too far away.

Festival of Globe (FOG) marked the season with its annual Dussehra Diwali ‘mela’ at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, CA on Saturday, October 6.


With over 85 booths including major institutions such as US Bank and State Farm and AIG and many more, the ‘mela’ was a grand occasion, bringing together hundreds of people and vendors of traditional Indian clothing, handicrafts and tasty food.

There were carousel and train rides for children, a giant slide and floating water-walking balls for all day fun.

Wells Fargo, Bank of the West BNP Paribas, My Tax Filer, Intero Real Estate, Grant Private Wealth Management, AIG, SonaSoft, Sangita Dutta of New York Life, Visitors Guru, Young Explorers, Gurus Education, Keen Learners Montessori, Nurture Kids, Shah Distributors and Dr. Monika Chugh were some of the other major sponsors.

The program started off with a public speaking competition for children in the age group of 7 to 14 years. Ritu Khurana, owner and head of Gurus Education, was the organizer and emcee for this event. Gurus Education, one of Festival of Globe’s sponsors this year, is a specialty school that teaches children public speaking, debating, personal finance and ethics and life skills in general, thus supplementing traditional schooling.

After that, the FOG dance competition for children and adults took place all afternoon. FOG Cultural Chair, Jyotsna B Sharma was the organizer and host of the event. Her able team of volunteers and judges helped her put together the hugely successful event.

70 groups had registered for the competition. Participants included adults and children in different age groups. The audience was very impressed with the talent of the performers, and some of the groups had mind blowing themes. The costumes ranged from jazzy ones to cute adorable kids’ outfits to traditional Indian ethnic wear.

The creativity and talent displayed made the job of the judges quite tough.

The groups who bagged first prizes in various categories were: Dance Dil Se, Bolly pulse, Dance pulla, Rockstars, Nritya tara, Rangeela raas studio and Niasha group.

In the evening, some of the winners and finalists from the FOG Idol competition that was held earlier during the August ‘mela’ this year, brought melody to the FOG Concert. Alka Bhatnagar, Chair of FOG Idol, and Lakshmi Iyer (this author) coordinated the event.

Anushka Banerjee, second place winner in the 18+ group of FOG Idol 2018, opened the concert with “Dor Teri Ore…” from the film, “Singh is King” and “Deewani…deewani ho gayi…” from “Bajirao Mastani”.

The next to enthrall the crowd was Samvi Ranka (winner in the 9-11 age group), who sang, “Kanha So Jaa Re…” from the iconic film, “Baahubali 2”.

The highlight of the evening was the lamp-lighting ceremony by the assembled dignitaries, Festival of Globe (FOG) Founder and Convener, Dr. Romesh Japra, FIA President Rajesh Verma, FOG Parade Chair Deepak Chhabra and senior FOG members and volunteers such as Manorama Joshi and Shawn Ramani.

The attending dignitaries included Fremont Mayor Lily Mei, Council members Raj Salwan and David Bonaccorsi, former Vice Mayor of Fremont, Anu Natarajan, Newark Mayor Alan Nagy and

Dublin city mayoral candidate Arun Goel.

Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty presented Dr. Japra with a plaque of Commendation.

Dr. Japra also thanked and felicitated the major sponsors on stage.

Parminder Guri who had won the FOG Idol competition more than a decade ago, was the star of the evening. His original composition, Punjabi song “Maye Ne Maye”, was recently released by Zee Music. Parminder has released other music albums, too, with reputed Indian music companies. He mesmerized the crowd with a mix of old and contemporary songs such as the classic “Oh My Love…” and his latest release, “Maye Ne Maye”.

FOG Idol 2018  Public Choice Winner in the 9-11 category and the winner last year, Shohini Chakraborty gave an awe-inspiring performance of “Mera Kuchh Saamaan..” from the film, “Ijaazat”, while Shivika Srivastava (third place – 9 to 11), endeared herself with a heartfelt rendition of “Dil Hai Chhota Sa…” from the film, “Roja”.

Sangeet Barkataki (second place – 12 to 17), sang the Arijit Singh song, “Tum Hi Ho…” with amazing skill and Tanya Gupta (winner – 12 to 17) rounded off the evening’s gala with a medley of “Muskaanein Jhooti hain…” from “Talaash” and “Udi…” from “Guzaarish”.

Some children put up a short act from the Ramayana. This was organized by Ritu Khurana. An adorned cutout of Ravana against a tree served as a photo op spot for attendees.

The evening’s grand finale was the colorful and spectacular fireworks display. US Bank was the official sponsor for this. Earlier in the day, this correspondent spoke to the representative from US Bank to get their opinion of the event.

He said that this was the second year in a row that they were doing it. “We are trying to get in touch with our Asian groups”, he explained.

US Bank had a standee with the hashtag – #ShineDiyasLight. When asked about it, he said, “That’s a new initiative this year specifically by US Bank and our marketing group. So we are looking to do more things within the Diwali month and our Indian communities.”

The US Bank team said they were enjoying the ‘mela’. One of the team members was impressed with how well spoken the public speaking competitors were.

They were handing out a lot of giveaways such as the much appreciated tote bags and piggie banks. Bankers were trying to talk to people to find future potential customers.

Among the media outlets who provided event coverage or pre-publicity were OurTripVideos, East Bay Times, TV Asia, Sargam TV USA, Indo-US News, USA Bharat Today, The Mercury News and Yo India TV. FOG Media Chair Ritu Maheshwari thanked all of them for their support.

Dr. Japra expressed his thanks to all the volunteers for helping to put up such a grand event. He made special mention of Vidya Sethuraman who handles all the booths sales for FOG ‘melas’ and is in charge of coordinating the setup.

There was also a free Health Fair with services such as free flu shots, in keeping with the tradition of FOG melas.

All in all, the event was an enjoyable and memorable experience.




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