Hundreds of marchers, many dressed in the orange, green and white colors of India’s tricolor flag, will stream down Hillside Avenue in Queens on Saturday, Aug. 11, in the third annual India Day Parade organized by The Floral Park – Bellerose Indian Merchants Association.
Several floats, scores of local performing groups and even a trio of Bollywood stars are expected to join the parade stepping off at 2 p.m. just across the city line in Floral Park, Queens. The parade, held annually on the weekend before India Independence Day’s official commemoration on Aug. 15, ends at Padavan-Preller Complex Field in Bellerose, Queens.
The parade “is bringing everyone together on one day to celebrate India’s Independence,” says Hemant Shah of Floral Park, executive vice president of parade sponsor the Floral Park-Bellerose Indian Merchants Association, which represents 100 Hillside Avenue businesses.
Though rain was in the forecast, it did not dampen the spirit of the participants from the more than 25 organizations including the NYPD horse mounted police, NYPD Desi Ground units, Fire Truck with Fire Marshalls Color Guard, Veterans Color Guard, the American marching band and much more.
The parade started at the corner of 263rd Street and Hillside Avenue, proceeding towards 236th Street and ended in Padavan – Preller field.
The event featured a Pledge of Allegiance by Supreme Court Judge, the singing of the American and Indian National Anthems as well as speeches by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul along with other elected officials and dignitaries.
Speeches were also given by the executive committee of the Floral Park – Bellerose Indian Merchants Association including Chairman Subhash Kapadia, President Kirpall Singh, Executive Vice President Hemant Shah and Vice President Koshy.
“It is a celebration of freedom and a moment of pride,” says Bina Sabapathy of Plainview, a member of the India Association of Long Island. “We are celebrating the day in 1947 when we won our freedom after 200 years of British rule,” Sabapathy explained.