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August 14, 2012 > Festival of India

Festival of India

By Mekala Neelakantan
Photos By Aftab Shivdasani

Join the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) as it hosts the 20th annual Festival of India and Parade event on Paseo Padre Parkway in Fremont. This two-day festival and parade promises to bring a large, diverse crowd from all over the Bay Area, featuring over 120 booths dedicated to arts, crafts, literature, garments, food, seminars, sponsored activities and more, over 50 parade floats, and a free health fair that boasts over 100 physicians and other health professionals. Each year, the long-awaited Festival of India showcases India's rich culture and heritage through its Mela (fair), booths, dances, and floats; in addition, it provides an excellent platform to demonstrate the community service and work of FIA. This year's festival theme is "promote diversity and democracy, and build bridges between various communities."

FIA represents over 100,000 Indian Americans and over 50 Bay Area organizations, providing an effective forum for communication, assimilation of Indian Culture into mainstream America, and protecting the rights of those in the Indian American community and others. Although its annual Festival of India is highly anticipated, it is only one of many ways FIA has contributed to the community, hosting unity conventions, fundraising for natural disasters and conducting service projects such as blanket distribution and feeding the hungry.

The 2012 Festival of India continues a tradition enjoyed by many in the community. Past Grand Marshals include Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, Miss Universe Sushmita Sen, and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. This year's festival welcomes Bollywood actor Sonu Sood as Grand Marshal as well as many dignitaries, cricketers, and politicians.

Ceremonies start Thursday, August 16 in San Jose as the Indian Flag is raised. Festivities continue Saturday, August 18 at 10 a.m. as a free health fair including checkups, examinations and presentations begin; the health fair ends at noon.

The Mela will begin at 10 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, with cultural programs showcasing local talent through dance, music, dramas, and fashion shows. Singing and dance competitions are scheduled both days; an Indian Bazaar and booths will be open throughout the festival. A Gala Awards Celebrations with the Grand Marshal and invited dignitaries will take place Sunday, August 19 at 2 p.m. followed by the finals of singing/dance competition at 3 p.m. The Festival of India banquet is scheduled for Sunday, August 19 at 8 p.m. at the San Jose Airport Garden Hotel.

Tickets for the Festival of India Mela can be purchased online at fiaonline.org, or at the door for $5. Entry tickets must be purchased separately for each day of the festival. This year's festival sponsors enjoy a large number of benefits, including VIP passes, exclusive displays and advertisements, recognition at the Awards ceremony, and various other passes. More information regarding sponsorship, advertisement, dance competition participation, entry tickets, booth advertisement, and banquet tickets are available at fiaonline.org.

Festival of India
Saturday, August 18 - Sunday, August 19
10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
39439 Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont
(corner of Paseo Padre Pkwy and Walnut Ave.)
(510) 299-9771
www.fiaonline.org
Tickets: $5

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