FIA kicks off India Day Parade celebrations in NY
The Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut kicked off its India Day Parade celebrations with an evening of music, cocktails and dinner at the Indian Consulate June 28. The 37th India Day Parade in New York this year is scheduled for Sunday, Aug 20. The gala banquet is set for Aug 21 at the Royal Albert’s Palace in Fords, NJ.
The India Day Parade on Aug 20 begins at noon on 38th street and Madison Avenue, ending at 26th street. Food court and sponsor booths will be on 26th street, between Park and Madison Avenues while the cultural programs will continue through 6 pm on Madison Avenue, between 24th and 26th streets.
More than 125 members of the community were in attendance at the Indian Consulate, including FIA office-bearers, sponsors and patrons. FIA chairman Ramesh Patel and president Andy Bhatia, along with more than 25 former and current FIA executive committee members, welcomed guests and took turns to announce India Day Parade program and agenda.
Patel announced that the dashing Rana Daggubati and beautiful Tamannaah Bhatia, both stars of the recent massive Bollywood hit “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion,” had confirmed participation in India Day Parade this year, courtesy India’s Times Media Group. The grand marshal, usually a mainstream Bollywood star and also the biggest draw at the parade, Patel said, was yet undecided and should be confirmed in the next few weeks.
The evening kicked off with a welcome dance by Shiv Kala Dance Academy in the Consulate’s grand ballroom, following by ceremonial lighting of lamp by India’s Consul General in New York, Riva Ganguly Das and FIA officials Ramesh Patel, Andy Bhatia, Srujal Parikh, Alok Kumar, Chhavi Singh, Himanshu Bhatia, Anand Patel, Dr Sudhir Parikh, Dr Raj Bhayani, Shobna and Dinesh Patel, Yash Pal Soi, Nitin Vohra, Chandrakant Trivedi, , Kanu Chauhan, Ankur Vaidya, Bipin Patel, Jagdish Patel and Deepak Patel.
Consul General Das said the parade kickoff at the Indian Consulate was among the key annual events at the Consulate, primarily because of what it signified. “The India Day Parade is hugely symbolic because it brings communities from different Indian associations and emboldens the fabric of Indian togetherness.” She also announced that in a first the Indian Consulate was sponsoring a float this year to showcase India’s Northeast, its different cultures, tea gardens and investment opportunities.
Perhaps, the underlying theme of the parade each year is showcasing Indian culture to mainstream communities in New York, aiding in better understanding of immigrants. The semblance of two vastly different cultures was amply demonstrated at the Indian Consulate through a soulful performance by Paula and Richard Bennett, both trained jazz musicians, who sang on North Indian classical piano music.
Many speakers recalled the years in the 1980s when FIA initiated the India Day Parade with barely any Indian businesses in the New York area that could sponsor the parade. “Still, we managed to pull through such a massive undertaking for 31 years,” said Ramesh Patel. “There is an ongoing emotional connect of identity with India Day Parade and therefore I request you to stay involved.”
Shobna Patel, the FIA banquet committee chair, announced that the Aug 21 gala at Albert’s Palace in Fords, NJ, was being planned as the grandest to date. “We will have sit-down family-style dinner, with high cocktails and an evening of exciting entertainment.”
In his closing remarks, FIA’s Yash Pal Soi, thanked New York City mayor Bill De Blasio and Councilman Daniel Dromm, in aiding FIA to secure timely permits and permissions for India Day Parade this year.
Representatives of FIA’s partner associations in attendance, included Jackson Heights Merchants Association, Global Haryana Chamber of Commerce and FOKANA (Federation of Kerala Associations in North America). Among the supporting sponsors of the parade are, Air India, HAKS Group, TV Asia, State Bank of India, New York Daily News, MoneyGram, Sling TV, India Tourism, Royal Albert’s Palace, Indus American Bank and Parikh Media Worldwide.
The FIA of NY-NJ-CT was formed in 1970 and is among the largest umbrella organization representing over 500,000 Indian Americans in the tristate region. The centerpiece of its efforts culminates in the India Day Parade in New York each year. For Information about floats, booths and marching groups, call 732.325.7891, 848.248.0707, 732.387.5107 or email firstname.lastname@example.org