ARTESIA, Calif. — Thousands of revelers poured into Artesia Park here Nov. 3 to attend the annual ‘Diwali Festival,’ hosted by the Federation of Indian American Associations and the City of Artesia.
A variety of vendor booths lined the arena which came alive with the performances of Bollywood singer and “Voice of India” winner Sumitra Iyer, and Bollywood singer Siddhant Bhosle, son of veteran singer Sudesh Bhosle.
Though Iyer and Bhosle headlined the evening’s entertainment, a host of cultural programs and other activities also kept the huge crowds entertained at the free event.
A stage, festooned with flowers and lights, was set up for the live musical performances and dance routines, which ranged from modern to traditional dance forms, representing the various states of India.
The evening-long outdoor event, celebrating the ‘Festival of Lights,’ began at 6 p.m. with an eclectic mix of dances, performed by groups like the Dance Academy group, the Rangashree Dance Academy, and dancers like Alpana Sreedhar and Lalita/Vishakha, among others.
After enjoying the dance performances, guests were seen relishing delicacies and shopping for clothes, jewelry and other items at the myriad vendor booths.
Congressman Luis Correa, who was among the dignitaries present at the event, wished everyone present a “Happy Diwali,” adding that he was looking forward to working with the Indian American community. Correa also presented a plaque to U.S. Bank.
His speech was followed by Bhosle and Iyer’s energetic performances, both solos and duets, which nearly turned the park into a dance club.
FIA president Ishwar Deedwania later introduced the invitees to the guests.
A representative from the office of Assemblywoman Christina Garcia handed out plaques to all the FIA committee members. Other political dignitaries at the event included Artesia Mayor Pro Tem Tony Lima and Artesia Council member Ali Sajjad Taj.
Deedwania told India-West that celebrating Diwali in the U.S. is a way for Indian Americans to not only stay connected to their Indian roots but also introduce Indian festivals to the younger generation born here.
“We are doing this program for the last eight years,” he said. “When youngsters come here they realize what Diwali is, otherwise they wouldn’t know anything about the festival. At the event, we also mention the significance of Diwali, about the victory of good over evil, and how it marks the beginning of a happy and joyous New Year,” he told India-West.
Toyota was the platinum sponsor of the event while US Bank was the diamond sponsor. State Bank of India-California, Wallis State Bank and Frontier Heritage were the gold sponsors of the Diwali Festival.