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August 13, 2013 > 'Festival of India and Parade' features new attractions

'Festival of India and Parade' features new attractions

By Ritu Maheshwari

For the past 20 years, the Federation of Indian Associations' (FIA) "Festival of India and Parade" in Fremont has come to symbolize the unity, integrity, and culture, hallmarks of the Bay Area Indian community. Every year, the festival is attended by close to hundred thousand visitors who come to enjoy a health fair, grand parade, Bollywood celebrity appearances, kids' talent programs, cultural programs from across India, and a Mela that feature the best parts of the Indian community. Visitors enjoy mouth-watering Chaat, instantly made Jalebis, attractive jewelry, trendy clothes, and discounted local merchandise at over 100 booths.

FIA President and Event Coordinator Rajesh Verma said, "The 21st 'Festival of India and Parade' celebrations are poised to be bigger and broader than before. There is tremendous zeal and enthusiasm among the volunteers and community to take festival to the next level."

This year's Grand Marshal is Bollywood star Jimmy Shergill, who has acted in many Bollywood and Punjabi movies. His hit roles include "Munna Bhai MBBS," "Mohabbatein," "Dangerous Ishq," and "Saheb, Biwi aur Gangster." The festival also features three special segments: the 100th anniversary of the Gadar movement, the 150th birthday of Swami Vivekananda, and 100 years of Bollywood cinema.

The Gadar movement was started by a few young individuals in California brimming with passion for Indian independence from the British Empire in 1913. It soon caught on and resulted in revolutionary efforts. Well-known revolutionaries like Subhash Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh were influenced by the movement. FIA will celebrate this occasion with many activities and events about Gadar. Planned activities include kids' contests, exhibitions, and showcase for the Gadar movement.

Swami Vivekananda's 150th birthday celebrations started at the First Unitarian Church of Oakland, where Swamiji gave his famous Vedanta lecture. There are many activities planned around his life and teachings.

Bollywood, the giant Indian movie industry started 100 years ago with famous actors like Prithvi Raj Kapoor beginning their cinema journey. Many activities involving exhibitions, floats, and kids contests are planned to commemorate the anniversary.

Parade Chair Deepak Chhabra said, "The parade continues to be the main attraction of 'Festival of India' every year. There is renewed interest, enthusiasm and participation from various parts of the community in making the parade grand success. We are planning to increase the number of floats significantly and leave an indelible impression of rich Indian culture this year."

The celebration will be initiated with flag hoisting at 6:30 p.m. in San Jose on Thursday, August 15 by San Jose Council Member Ash Kalra. "Festival of India" will be held on August 17 and 18 in Fremont. Entry tickets for the festival's Mela are available online for $4 or at the gate for $5. Tickets are only valid for the single day purchased.

Festival of India and Parade
Saturday, Aug 17 and Sunday, Aug 18
10 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
39439 Paseo Padre Pkwy., Fremont
(Corner of Paseo Padre and Walnut Ave.)
(510) 299-9771

Entertainment Schedule:

Saturday, Aug 17
10 a.m. - noon: Free Health Fair
10 a.m. - 7 p.m.: Mela (Fair)
10 a.m. - 6 p.m.: Gadar Movement, Swami Vivekananda and 100 years of Bollywood exhibitions
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.: Dance Competitions
2 p.m. - 5 p.m.: Drawing Competitions
4 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.: Bollywood Musical Extravaganza featuring Sniti Mishra, Anara Singh and Prem Bhatia

Sunday, Aug 18
10 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.: Mela (Fair)
10 a.m. - 11 a.m.: Cultural Programs
Noon - 2 p.m.: Grand Parade
2 p.m. - 3 p.m.: Gala Celebrations with Grand Marshal and Dignitaries
3 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.: Bollywood Musical Extravaganza featuring Sniti Mishra, Anara Singh, Prem Bhatia
7 p.m. - 11 p.m.: Grand Banquet and Gala with Grand Marshal (only for Japra Inner Circle and Sponsors)

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