Los Angles Telugu Association Sankranthi Mela Mega Success
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29 January 2014

On Saturday, January 18th, 2014, for the first time in the Greater Los Angeles area, Los Angeles Telugu Association (LATA) has organized a one-of-a-kind event for Sankranthi celebrations. The response from the Telugu community was a tremendous, and approximately 1500 members attended the event. In addition, at least 300 enrolled as members in the LATA organization. The motive of this event was to engage the Telugu community around the Greater Los Angeles Area to involve them a traditional event that would instill a sense of importance for Sankranthi and celebrate the New Year within our community. The event turned out to be a grand success with an amazing response from the Telugu community.

For the first time in Greater Los Angeles and Southern California, several local members of the Telugu community participated in the celebration of Sankranthi by giving performances and expressing their talent.

For about 5 hours after noon, Sankranti Mela continued on with adults and kids participating enthusiastically in all of the various programs. The most special attractions were face painting and henna, which allowed the kids to feel a part of the Sankranthi celebrations.

There were around 10 games to entertain kids of all ages which included games such as Cola Ring Toss, Ducks in a Row, etc. Along with this, a few bouncy jumpers entertained the kids on this warm and clear-skied Saturday. Several stalls with traditional dresses, jewelries and sarees also attracted all of the ladies, while the kids were enjoying the rides and carnival games. A few homemade food stalls entertained the members with great tasting snacks and food. Several other local businesses also engaged the Telugu community and educated them on the topics of bone marrow drives. The Hare Krishna temple gave away Bhagavad Gita books in order to raise awareness about their association within the community.

During the mela, Sreekanth Kocherlakota anchored the mela stage and engaged the crowd with cultural programs. He really brought out the energy in the crowd by talking about the importance of Sankranthi and what it means to our Telugu community. A group of classical singers gave an amazing performance of classical annamacharya keerthanas. Following this, Krishna Samanthula led a jaw-dropping flash mob performance, which consisted of about 25 LATA members who performed to song titled “LATA Sankranthi A-Z”, written by LATA’s Vice President Ravi Tiruvaipati. This song and dance performance was repeated thrice on popular demand from the crowd. Soon after the flash mob, dinner was served with a selection of 10 authentic dishes including traditional rice-cakes (ariselu) and laddu by Dosa Place. The members enjoyed the delicious and traditional Sankranthi meal.

Soon after dinner, the attention of the crowd shifted towards the state of the art auditorium of Jordan High School as the rest of the event was set take place here. Opposite of the auditorium, the Sankranthi media point was set up and decorated traditionally with sugar canes, banana trees, rangoli, marigold (banthi poolu) and other colorful flowers. At this media point, LATA President Ramesh Kotamurthy addressed the media and resonated his heartfelt gratitude to all the Telugu members of the Greater Los Angeles community for supporting LATA tremendously. He also mentioned that it was only possible due to the amazing dedication of all of the volunteers and the involvement of the Executive Committee. He was thankful that LATA is able to help the Telugu community at large and satisfied to see so many members benefit from the LATA activities.

The main events of the Mega Event started around 6:30 pm in the auditorium, and the program was anchored by Sameer and Hanishka Polimera. Approximately 180 local participants joined together on the stage to give their performances that really entertained the crowd. One of the first events was by 2 boys dressed as Haridasa and invited the audience to celebrate Sankranthi with them. For the first time, a Sankranthi-style fashion show was performed on stage which yielded the Sankranthi traditions and dresses. Folk dances were performed by groups named Dazzling Dancers and Koyila Re. A beautiful classical dance was also performed by the talented Renuka Malepati.

The audience was positive, responsive and encouraged all of the participants. Again it proved that LATA’s success is because of its strong and dedicated volunteers.

About 110 volunteers worked very hard for the past two months to make this event grand success.

LATA Joint Secretary Lakshmi Chimata along with spouses of Executive Committee members invited all the Rangoli participants onto the dias and awarded them with mementos and prizes. The Rangoli competition was a vital part of this Sankranthi Mega Event. In order for it to be successful, several women spent a lot of time to organizing this event across 6 different locations around the Greater Los Angeles area. The mega Rangoli winner is Prathyusha B from Burbank and the runner up is Swetha Reddy from Irvine.

The regional Rangoli competition winners are as follows: Burbank - Sri Latha Srikantam (Winner) and Ravitha Gudimella (Runner); Cerritos - Jyothi Nallapaneni (Winner) and Rama Rangu (Runner); Eastvale, Arcadia, Rancho Cucamonga - Rajalaxmi Chilukuri (Winner) and Shalini Kothapa (Runner); Irvine - Priya Reddy (Winner) and Beena Oruganti (Runner); Santa Clarita - Deepika Bhavya (Winner) and Hemalatha Chelumuri (Runner); Torrance - Rukmini Puletipalli (Winner) and Radha Manikyam Adipudi (Runner).

These members were all awarded with Uppada Silk Sarees (pattu cheeralu) that were specially ordered from India for this ceremony.

Space Vision India has sponsored the sarees for the Rangoli winners. Special Thanks to Nara Simha Reddy garu from Space Vision for their support.

LATA would like to congratulate all the winners and participants for an exceptional display of talent and creativity.

The last event of the night was the second performance of the flash mob “LATA Sankranthi A-Z” song. As the event ramped down, the crowd erupted and chanted for an encore of the performance. The flash mob team obliged and performed the catchy song one last time before the events were concluded. The audience was satisfied as the Executive Committee, which included President Ramesh Kotamurthy, Vice-President Ravi Tiruvaipati, Secretary Tilak Kadiyala, Treasurer Hari Maddala, Joint Secretary Lakshmi Chimata, Joint Treasurer - Srinivas Komirsetty, walked out on the stage the address them. LATA Executive Committee members thanked the audience for attending the event and being so encouraging. The members also expressed their gratitude to the participants for their exceptional display of performances. LATA also praised their volunteers for all of the hard work in bringing this Mega Event to a Mega Success. The event concluded after the Indian and American national anthems were played respectively. LATA also extends its gratitude to the NRI Samay, LA Telugu , Tori One and TV Asia for assisting in publicity for this successful event. LATA is jubilant in conducting activities that are helping the Telugu community at large and hopes to continue organizing events as such.



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