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August 13, 2008 > Festival of India celebrates unity

Festival of India celebrates unity

By Meenu Gupta
Photos By Courtesy of Kanika Chhabra

This weekend, the corner of Paseo Padre Parkway and Walnut Avenue will come alive. Musical melodies, exuberant dances in colorful ethnic attire, and many visitors will gather to have fun while celebrating India's culture and history at the annual Festival of India. The two day event is presented by Northern California's Federation of Indo Americans (FIA) which seeks to promote unity in diversity, democracy and build bridges between global communities.

"The Festival of India is a showcase of Indian culture and heritage not only for the Indo-American community, but to all who share the global Northern California community. Over 100 booths depicting arts and crafts, literature, clothing and jewelry, ethnic food, businesses and other resources will be featured at the festival. It also showcases Indian culture through dances and music." said Romesh K. Japra, M.D., Convener & President.

Festival of India begins on Saturday 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 tests of blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, eye examination and a dental checkup free of cost. "At the very comprehensive Health Fair, over 100 physicians and other professionals provide free testing and advice," noted Dr. Japra.

An Indian Musical Extravaganza featuring famous Bollywood singer Anushka Manchanda and the increasingly popular dance competition promise a big audience at the festival on Sunday afternoon. The dance competition showcases dance originating from different parts of India. These include Bollywood (Indian movies), classical and folk dance of different states of the country. Those interested in participating in the Dance competition may contact Vijaya Aasuri at 510-661-0111.

Unlike previous years, this year will not feature a parade although festivities will be reviewed by Grand Marshal, Bollywood Actress Jaya Prada. A sumptuous Indian dinner will be served on Sunday night to close this year's festival.

Saturday August 16:

Free Health Fair: 10 a.m. -1 p.m.
Cultural Program: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Dance Competition: 1 p.m. -2:30 p.m.
Flag Hoisting and Recognitions: 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Dance Competition Awards: 3:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Mela (Fair): 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Sunday, August 17:

Youth Seminar: 10 a.m. - Noon
Cultural Program: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Musical Extravaganza (Live performance by Anushka Manchanda & Leading Singers): Noon to 5 p.m.
Mela (Fair): 10 a.m. -7 p.m.

Festival of India Banquet
Sunday, August 17
8 p.m. to midnight
San Ramon Marriott
2600 Bishop Dr, San Ramon
(925) 867-9200
$50 per person
Table of 10: $450

16th Festival of India
Saturday, Aug 16 and Sunday, Aug 17
39439 Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont
(510) 938-8668

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