The ATA Convention hosted by American Telugu Association [ATA] was marked by breathtaking spectacle drawing record-breaking attendance inundating the sprawling convention center with vibrant Telugu fervor at the silver jubilee festivities held on a grand mega scale showcasing the rich Telugu cultural heritage and its burgeoning Telugu constituency in America at the 3-day ATA Convention held on July 1-3, 2016 at the Rosemont Convention Center in Rosemont, IL.
The Rosemont city wore a colorful Telugu look as unprecedented number of attendees preliminarily estimated at 10,000 thronged the convention center to experience ostentatious showcasing of rich Telugu culture through music, dance, pageantry surpassed only by dazzling fashion shows, contemporary cinematic music and colorful epic dance presentations eclipsed by celebrities, large contingent of political leaders, Telugu icons and eminent personalities overwhelmed only by the presence of Tollywood movie stars.
Convener Chandrasekhar Reddy Palvai praised the unwavering dedication and hard work of the entire ATA chairs & co-chairs that truly brought such phenomenal results. Convention Director K.K. Reddy characterized it as a magnificent journey of 25 years culminated in such an extraordinary convention and added this as a symbol of triumph of the towering Telugu spirit. ATA President Sudhakar Perkari lauded the remarkable ATA team work that brought about this splendid outcome. ATA Founder/President Hanumanth Reddy expressed the gleeful joy at the presence of such huge masses of Telugu people under one roof and added is a shining testament to innate culture of Telugu people; while Convention Co-Convener Krishna Mushyam saluted the rallying spirit of Telugu fellowship in such magnitude.
The convention was set in motion with a grand gala banquet on Friday July 1st with Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu inaugurating the 3-day celebrations paying rich accolades to the Telugu culture in their remarks as ecstatic gala attendees rendered prolonged applause. Governor Bruce Rauner issued a proclamation declaring July 2nd and 3rd 2016 as American Telugu Association Day in the state of Illinois. Governor Rauner commended the Telugu community for keeping up the great cultural heritage and added if he gets an opportunity he would love to visit India. Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs in his address inspired the families to stay rooted in Telugu culture while appreciating the other languages and cultures. Venkaiah Naidu stressed on the ripe climate in India ideal for global investments. Dinkar Karumuri exhaustively introduced Governor Rauner and described him as an outstanding champion of the Indian American community and added his presence at ATA gala is a shining testimony of his steadfast goodwill to the Telugu community.
With the invocation dance, the gala banquet in its splendor showcased the outstanding success stories of Telugu people in the United States who were applauded for their valuable contribution to the societies both in India and America. Some of the prominent attendees include Ambassador Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Consul General of India, Democratic Nominee for U.S.Congress Raja Krishnamoorthi, and Prominent MP Kavitha Kalvakuntla, Deputy Telangana Chief Minister Kadiam Srihari, Cook County Commissioner Tim Schneider, GMR Chairman Grandhi Mallikarjuna Rao ATA Benefactors Dr. Prem Reddy and Dr. Paila Malla Reddy joined by a large contingent of MPs and MLAs from A.P and Telangana state represented by all political parties including TRS, YSRCP, TDP and Congress. Other Prominent Leaders from USA include Maryland Delegate Aruna Miller, Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally, Ex-Nasscom chair BV Mohan Reddy.
On Saturday July 2nd, the ATA Convention set the stage on fire with a huge 100-group dance troupe presenting an epic inaugural dance presentation ‘Jyothi Prajwalana’ that evoked applause and standing ovation. Key note address by Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu was stirring as he inspired Telugus in America to instill and nurture Telugu language to the succeeding generations. Venkaiah Naidu said that the most successful people in North America are Indians and added half of them are Telugu’s. Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti presented Illinois Governor’s proclamation to ATA leaders. Rasamayi Balakrshinan Troupe provided an upbeat ‘Dhoom Dham’ Telangana traditional dance and musical presentation. Youth forum was inaugurated by ATA founder Hanumanth Reddy, convener Chandrasekhar Reddy Palvai and Director K.K. Reddy. Re-enactment of ‘Bahubali’ movie with its huge cast held the audience in rapt attention. TV hosted event ‘SYEATA’ had youth performing colorful cultural and western presentations.
Kuchipudi dance by Padmaja Reddy displayed wide swath of emotions. Kavitha Kalvakuntla, Telangana Member of Parliament applauded the sense of unity of Telugu people showcased at the convention. Iftekhar Shareef, Reception Chair introduced Kavitha Kalvakuntla, Telangana MP and the Telangana MPs and MLAs giving an eloquent summation of their role in continuously steering the newly-formed 29th Indian state towards the trajectory of success. Earlier, Swami Chidatmananda spoke. Kamala Chimata, Convention Coordinator who presented the overview said the convention is replete with exhaustive schedule of close-fitting events meaningfully designed for the families.
On Sunday July 3rd, the convention drew wall-to-wall crowds to witness the spectacular fashion show, contemporary dance presentations and grand musical show presented by Mani Sharma and group that send the crowds ecstatic at every song belted out. In the afternoon, heated debates with political leaders participated by TRS, YSRCP, TDP & Congress party reached a fierce pitch battle between the party leaders held by Chalma Reddy and moderated by renowned TV host Venkata Krishna and managed by Vikram Kattamreddy. Some of the politicians participated in the Political Forum include Telangana Dy CM Kadiam Srihari, L. Ramana, Pedireddy Ramachandra Reddy, Jithender Reddy, Madhu Yashki, Keshav Rao, Roja, Ambati Rambabu, Srikanth Reddy, Malla Reddy and others.
The evening segment began with youth-centric dance and musical presentations. ATA felicitated their past presidents, its board and trustees. Chandrasekhar Reddy lauded the undying commitment of over 60 committees; while K.K.Reddy expressed jubilation having such a fine contingent of committed teams.
Some of the Tollywood movie actors who attended the convention included Actors Kajol Agarwal, Jagapathi Babu, Nani Babu Ghanta, Rashi Khana, Bhanu Sree, Lavanya Tripathi, Rashmi Gautam, Jyothi, Ramya Sree Neeliya,Rachna Mourya.
Some of the prominent political elected leaders who attended included Ganta Srinivas Rao, Nayani Narasimha Reddy, Dr. Venugopala Chary, Ambati Rambabu, Roja and Jatinder Reddy.
The Youth committee organized Lake Michigan dinner cruise for youth 16 and above and 200 Youth participated. The business forum included workshops by CEO’s and Entrepreneurs who presented workshops about doing business in India and the US. The Women’s Forum workshops were designed to empower and motivate women.
Health and wellness seminars focused on preventive health screening and medical advice from leading medical experts, Matrimonial services were provided to parents of prospective brides and grooms. Seminars for Senior Citizens were organized to educate seniors about Government benefits, health Insurance options and navigation and dealing with the loss of a partner as they grow older in America. Yoga and meditation sessions were conducted throughout the day and many attendees took advantage learning and practicing these relaxation techniques. Vendor’s booths carried mouth-watering Telugu delicacies, jewelry, fashion apparels and accessories and real estate companies promoted their housing projects in India. Convention attendees were treated a great shopping experience and were able to support participating vendors. Painstaking efforts were made to serve authentic native Telugu cuisine for record number of guests.
The leaders of the American Telugu Association and the Convention team received glowing accolades for their remarkable dedication in securing runaway success of the silver jubilee convention. The convention drew to a grand conclusion with high decibel musical concert rendered by well-known Tollywood music director Mani Sharma along with a team of singers and musicians belting out exciting tunes until the wee hours past midnight which served as a grand finale to a memorable Telugu convention.