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August 8, 2006 > Festival of India

Festival of India

by Mekala Raman

On Aug. 15, India celebrates 59 years of independence from British rule. For the past four months the Federation of Indo Americans (FIA) has been working hard preparing for Festival 2006 that will take place in Fremont. This festival not only celebrates India's independence, but also its culture, history and people.

FIA has been organizing this event for the past 14 years, using this time and experience to greatly improve the variety of events they offer. They have also put together a wonderful parade and will host a large group of movie stars, dignitaries, cricketers, and politicians, including Grand Marshal Poonam Dhillon, an actress who performs in India's prolific movie industry called "Bollywood." The festival will be held on Aug. 12 to 13 and includes cultural programs, a health fair, a dance competition, and the parade.

"We are making this [health fair] a part of the Celebrate Fremont celebrations," said FIA spokesperson Yogi Chugh. "Accordingly, this year we are expanding the health fair."

Partnering with Washington Hospital and Kaiser, FIA is hoping that Tri-City residents will take advantage of free health screenings. The fair is aimed at servicing uninsured, underinsured, the senior community and anyone who has not had time to visit a doctor.

The Festival also features a job fair with a variety of companies offering information on jobs available in the U.S. and India.

Saturday also features a youth program called "Reflections" and the increasingly popular dance competition. This competition has expanded over the past 14 years to include a fashion show and a talent showcase for people from various parts of India who perform different styles of dance. Dance numbers include classical, folk, and Bollywood-style. This year over 200 participants will be involved and each entry will be judged by professionals.

Perhaps the biggest event of the festival is the parade. Aside from featuring famous, distinguished guests, the parade will include approximately 30 floats showcasing the cultures and lifestyles of India's 27 states. Every year, Fremont Education Foundation participates in the parade, organizing a group of grade school band students to form a marching band.

Festival organizers stress the open nature of the activities. Festival of India celebrates not only its country's independence; it is also a celebration that welcomes all to enjoy India's vibrant culture and history.

"This year we are also honored to associate with the Celebrate Fremont celebrations and look forward to the participation of the entire Tri-City and Bay Area community," said Chugh.

"Every year, Festival of India keeps getting bigger and better... and we are promising you the best of the festivals and parades," said FIA president Dr. Romesh Japra.

For more information, please visit www.fiaonline.org.

14th Annual Festival of India
Saturday and Sunday, August 12 and 13
39439 Paseo Padre Pkwy. and Walnut Ave., Fremont

Saturday
Free health fair, 9 a.m. to noon
Mela (fair), 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Cultural program, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Reflections (youth program), 1 to 2 p.m.
Dance Competition, 2 to 8 p.m.

Sunday
Mela (fair), 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cultural program, 9 to 11 a.m.
Parade, Noon to 2 p.m.
Gala awards celebration, 2 p.m.

 
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