AIA - Dussehra and Diwali Dhamaka grand success
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20 October 2016

Association of Indo American’s (AIA), Desi 1170 AM & Bolly 92.3 presented “Dussehra & Diwali Dhamaka”. It is a unique outdoor festival, first of its kind and was supported by over 21 Indian organizations in Bay Area. With over 10,000 attendees, the event was refreshingly endearing, visually stunning, totally engaging, and entertaining. This event showcased multiple facets of two of the largest, most widely celebrated festivals of India, Diwali and Dussehra.

This mega event was presented by Sanjiv Gupta CPA, Grand sponsor for the event was Dr. Prakash Advani (DDS), Platinum sponsors include Sirisha Sinha (Skye RealEstates) and Neeraa’ji from Sampurna Vastu.

While the competitions of bollywood foot stomping numbers and nostalgic classical dancing of all forms was entertaining the audience on the main stage, a separate staging area on the opposite end of the expo hall was quietly glistening with artists from 5 to 50 plus years of age.  They gracefully decorated Diyas and painted incredible rangoli with powdered colors.  As the weather improved, this stage was moved outdoors where more contestants participated in a Diwali quiz and a talent show followed by Antyakshari and Dance off!

There was a huge support and compliments from many of the elected officials and dignitaries who have attended the event in person which include Senator Jim Beall (15th Senate District), Assemblymember Kansen Chu (District 25, San Jose), Assembly member Nora Campos (District 27, San Jose), Vice Mayor Rose Herrera (San Jose), Supervisor Dave Cortese (District 3, San Jose), Councilmember Ash Kalra (San Jose, District 2), Councilmember Tam Nguyen (District 7, San Jose), Mayor Pro Term Kirsten Keith (Menlo Park),  K.  Venkata Ramana ( Indian Consulate office, San Francisco), Councilmember Gilbert Wong (Cupertino), Councilmember Darcy Paul (Cupertino), Mayor Jose Esteves (City of Milpitas), Mayor Bill Harrison (City of Fremont), Former Councilmember Raj Salwan (Fremont), Lily Mei (Vice Mayor, Fremont), Councilmember Kathy Watanabe (Santa Clara), Robert Gill (Santa Clara Boards and Commissions), Ro Khanna, Sylvia Arenas, and many other community leaders. The dignitaries have presented resolutions/certificate of recognition to AIA.

The dignitaries were led to the area of the golden chariot where they initiated the ‘Rath Yatra’ with chariot containing goddess Lakshmi . With excited chants from many devotees, a few hundred people were able to pull the chariot through the length of the expo hall in a parade format.  As the Rath came to a halt in front of the powerful goddess whose mandir was carefully and beautifully decorated to recreate a temple, the priest started auspicious chants and continued to present Aarti.  Many aarti platters were distributed throughout the crowd & delicious laddu prasad were distributed.

Desi Food Festival which brought various delicacies with unique presentation under one roof. Peacock Fremont, Shalimar, Rasoi, Pista House, Biryaniz, Bawarchi, Appakadai, Carrots & Bubba Tea etc catered the food for the event. What’s a desi mela without shopping and this event provided ample opportunities for the same. Over 60 vendors displayed booths spanning clothing, jewelry, mehendi, real estate, after schools, IT training & health services.

The Expo center was bursting at the seams by 6:30 pm with excited patrons who were torn between watching the sensually binding fashion show, attending the spiritually jubilant Maha Mangal Aarti, visiting the vendor booths with attractive unique merchandise, or enjoying the rides and entertainment outdoors.  Even with so much entertainment, many others have enthusiastically weathered the mild rain to secure a good spot for the very first ‘Ravan Dahan’ (the symbolic burning of a large figure of Rama’s enemy, the 10 headed Ravan) in Bay Area’s history. The grand finale was spectacular “Fire works” which illuminated the beautiful sky with vibrant colors and formations.

Hundreds of people were seen walking back from the Ravan Dahan and Fireworks enthralled and wearing the brightest smiles that would light up any rainy night!

The organizers seemed very pleased with the outcome and noted that they were truly touched by the biggest surprise of the day, when the entire Indian community diligently turned out by the thousands despite the rainy weather.

Also the organizers thanked all the sponsors for their continued support and all the volunteers for their efforts in making the event a grand success.


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