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August 12, 2009 > Public invited to celebrate Indian Independence Day

Public invited to celebrate Indian Independence Day

By Meenu Gupta
Photos By Kanika Chhabra

August 15 is of special significance to the Indian community as it commemorates the nation's independence from British colonial rule. On this day in 1947, the world's biggest democracy woke up breathing in the air of freedom to herald a new beginning as a sovereign country. Since then it has become a day of special significance, celebrated with pomp and glory.

Celebrations will start on August 14 with the official flag raising ceremony in the City of San Jose at 6 p.m. The event will be conducted at the City Hall Plaza followed by a two day celebration in Fremont. Festivities begin with a health fair followed by cultural programs and a dance competition. The health fair offers medical and dental attention by specialists and nurses. Attendees can receive a general health review including test of blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, eye examination and a dental checkup free of cost. "Through Health Fair, over 100 physicians and other health professionals give free testing and advice," said Romesh K. Japra, MD, Convener and President of Federation of Indo Americans of Northern California (FIA). FIA again hosts the festival.

Sunday's grand parade showcasing India's intrinsic multicultural ethos and a variety of cultural shows will highlight festivities in Fremont. The parade is a work of art put together by Parade Chair Deepak Chhabra and his team including, Dharminder Diwan. "FIA, a nationally recognized organization is an umbrella organization for 43 other regional organizations. Festival of India became an instant success when it started in 1992. The annual event provides a much needed platform for the entire ethnic Indian community living in Northern California to come out and mingle," said Chhabra.

"Every year, we showcase Indian culture and heritage through Mela (Fair), booths, dances and floats to mainstream Americans and the next generation," said Japra. "This year is our 17th anniversary and we are promising people the best of the festivals and parades." Wells Fargo Bank, the festival's grand sponsor, will provide a stage coach driven by six horses. "This year for the first time we have the United States Census Bureau, a federal entity participating in the Parade and Mela stressing on the importance of Census," said Chhabra. Parade assembly is at 12 noon sharp, with entertainment shows set to commence at 2 p.m. and continue throughout the day.

Festival of India offers a colorful and wide ranging panorama of traditional as well as contemporary live entertainment, exuberant dances and a variety of cultural exhibits. Over 120 booths will be set up depicting Indian arts and crafts, Indian clothes, jewelry, food, and more. "The festival offers a shopping spree of choice items; food booths will serve delectable dishes from famous Indian cuisine," said Chhabra. The parade will feature 50 floats representing different states of India and Indian-American community and businesses organizations. The grand carnival will feature Bollywood star Neha Dhupia and Bollywood Singer Mauli Dave who will serve as Grand Marshals leading the parade. A concert by Mauli Dave and other Bay Area singers are scheduled at the Fair.

Children's corner will be an additional attraction this year featuring an essay contest, painting contest, quiz competition and fun games for kids. Register in advance by sending an email to Ajay Jain at Those interested in participating in cultural programs may contact Vijaya Aasuri at 510-421-3535. "Over 400 volunteers have worked for many months to organize this festival," said Festival Coordinator Rajesh Verma. For information about the festival contact Chairman of the Youth committee, Ajay Jain Bhutoria at (510) 378-0698 or Event Coordinator Sonia Sidhu at 510-938-8668.

Festival of India
Saturday, Aug 15 and Sunday, Aug. 16
10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
39439 Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont
(Paseo Padre Pkwy and Walnut Ave)
(510) 299 9771

Saturday, August 15

Free Health Fair
10 a.m. - 12 noon

Annual painting competition
11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Essay competition
2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Contact Ajay Jain (510) 378-0698

Sunday, August 16

12 noon - 2 p.m.

Musical Extravaganza with Grand Marshal Mauli and Bay Area Singers
Begins at 2 p.m.

Festival of India Banquet
Sunday, August 16
8 p.m. to midnight
San Ramon Marriott
2600 Bishop Dr., San Ramon
(925) 867-9200

$50 per person
Free for FIA members
(510) 468 6929

Trade Booth information:
Mohinder Khanna at 510-552-3302 or Vikram Paul at 510-789-7520.

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