FREMONT, CA: Alameda County Fairgrounds here was bustling with activity as Federation of Indo-Americans of Northern California, Fremont Hindu temple hosted their fifth annual “Diwali Mela” on October 15. It was attended by thousands of Indian Americans and other Bay Area residents.
The Festival of Lights was celebrated with fun, food and entertainment. It was a massive festival with non-stop music, dance, masti and masala! Due to heavy rain, the event was shifted under a 45,000 sq ft “Amador Pavilion”.
Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, marks the time of year when Hindus symbolically cast away evil and invite good and prosperity by lighting of lamps and candles. Where darkness represents evil to Hindus, lighting the lamp is a metaphor for the attainment of knowledge and symbolizes the destruction of negative attitudes and behaviors.
There were several Indian clothing and jewelry booths selling their products, along with big businesses like Wells Fargo, Tea India, Star Plus and Lifeok. Healthcare booths had been set up by FIA Health fair wing and they offered over 100 free flu shots sponsored by Walgreens. The health fair was organized by Raju Mantena and team.
The Mela kicked off the festive season in East Bay, charming its visitors with variety of stalls selling fashion jewelry, handicrafts, henna art, colorful Indian apparel, home décor and an assortment of delectable mouth watering food from all over India. The park played host to happy children as they were seen jumping in inflatable bouncers, playing games, and participating in petting zoo and pony rides.
The action-packed day started with live entertainment on stage. The performers, dressed in bold colors with ornate decorations, executed precise movements as they moved to the beat. The purpose of this festival is to get together and celebrate intercultural understanding that promotes economic and cultural prosperity.
The nonstop dance performances/competitions went on until 6:00 pm and it was put together by Jyotsna Bendapudi, FOG Cultural chair. Over 100 plus dance groups performed at the day-long activity. Prizes were distributed to the 16 winning teams by dignitaries.
The Ramayana came to life with the Ram Lila and Raas Leela performance put together by Rajesh and Madhu Gupta. Participants wore colorful costumes and re-enacted scenes from the Ramayana.
Due to heavy rainfall, fireworks weren’t done, but laser show was done twice. Many local dignitaries and community leaders participated in the celebrations. Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison, Milpitas Mayor Jose Esteves, Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne, Mike Sellers, Chief of Police, Santa Clara, Denise Seller, Chief of Police, Gilroy, Pleasanton Vice Mayor Kathy Narum and Ro Khanna were among the dignitaries who graced the occasion.
Dr. Romesh Japra, Chairman, FIA and Rajesh Verma, President wished the attendees who came despite heavy rain and gusty winds. They thanked the sponsors, volunteers and media partners for their support in making this event a grand success.
India Post News Service