SAN JOSE, Calif. — More than 30,000 people, mostly Indian Americans, thoroughly enjoyed the “Dussehra and Diwali Dhamaka” event, which was held Oct. 7 at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds here.
Presented by Association of Indo Americans and Bolly 92.3, the annual outdoor event was supported by over 30 Indian organizations based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The day-long event featured multiple activities like diya making, rangoli, flash mobs, musical and dance performances, Ravan Dahan, and fireworks.
While the Bollywood dances and classical dance performances entertained the audiences on the main stage, a separate staging area on the opposite end of the expo hall featured a couple of live bands.
The dignitaries present at the event included Deputy Consul General Rohit Rathish; the Andhra Pradesh government’s special representative for North America, Jayaram Komati; Indian Supreme Court Judge Jasti Chalameswar; California state Assemblymen Kansen Chu and Ash Kalra; County Supervisor Dave Cortese; San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo; Cupertino Mayor Savita Vaidhyanathan; South San Francisco Mayor Pradeep Gupta; Lily Mei, mayor of Fremont; Raj Salwan, Fremont city councilmember; and representatives from the offices of Congressman Ro Khanna; Fiona Ma, member of the Board of Equalization; and state Assemblyman Evan Low.
The dignitaries presented a certificate of recognition to the Association of Indo Americans.
The dignitaries were then led to the area where the golden chariot containing an idol of goddess Lakshmi was placed. They initiated the Rath Yatra amid excited chants from many devotees. Dozens of devotees pulled the chariot through the length of the expo hall in a parade format. As the Rath came to a halt in front of a recreated temple of the goddess, a priest began singing auspicious chants and offered an aarti. Many aarti platters were distributed to the crowd along with prasad.
Over 60 vendors displayed their booths featuring clothing, jewelry, mehndi, real estate, after schools, IT training, and health services.
The ‘Desi Food Festival’ presented various delicacies from Swagat Indian Cuisine, Shalimar Restaurant, Chaat Bhavan, Nawabi Hyderabad House, Peacock Indian Cuisine-Dublin, Kosta-South Indian Food Corner, and Eat Up, while Akshaya Indian Cuisine catered food for the event.
The expo center was bursting at the seams by 6:30 p.m. with excited patrons who were torn between watching the various fashion shows, high-energy Bollywood dances by NKD Arts, melodious songs presented by the singers from AIA/BATA karaoke group, attending the spiritual Maha Mangal Aarti, visiting the vendor booths, and enjoying the rides and other forms of outdoor entertainment.
Sam Liccardo, mayor of San Jose, conveyed his Diwali greetings to all the attendees and officially kicked off the count down for Ravana Dahan, the symbolic burning of an effigy of the 10-headed demon, Ravana. Organizer Vijaya Aasuri said the effigy burning was a rare event for the Indian American community.
The event, which culminated with a colorful firework display, was presented by Sanjiv Gupta CPA. Grand sponsor for the event wasDr. Prakash Advani of Family Dentistry, while the platinum sponsors included InsuKare.com insurance and Neeraaji from Sampurna Vastu.
Other sponsors included&TV, Farmers Insurance, Mantri Developers, Fly Air Travels and Swadesh India Bazaar.