FIA Diwali Mela shines with fun, food & entertainment

web-1FREMONT: Alameda County Fairgrounds here was bustling with activity as Federation of Indo-Americans of Northern California hosted their fourth annual “Diwali Mela” on October 24. It was attended by over 30,000 of Indian Americans and other Bay Area residents. The Festival of Lights was celebrated with fun, food and entertainment. It was a massive festival with non-stop music, dance, masti and masala!

Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, marks the time of year when Hindus symbolically cast away evil and invite good and prosperity by lighting of lamps and candles. Where darkness represents evil to Hindus, lighting the lamp is a metaphor for the attainment of knowledge and symbolizes the destruction of negative attitudes and behaviors.

The fairground was filled with an array of booths and food stalls, with long lines at those by local restaurants like Chaat Bhavan, Park Balluchi, Peacock, Bombay to Goa, Chennai Grill, Tabla, and Ananda Bhavan offering their specialties.

There were several Indian clothing and jewelry booths selling their products, along with big businesses like Western Union, Wells Fargo, PG&E, & TV and Visitor’s Coverage. Healthcare booths had been set up by FIA Health fair wing and they offered free flu shots sponsored by Walgreens. The whole health fair was sponsored by Visitors Coverage. PG&E was the exclusive Kids Carnival sponsor.

The Mela kicked off the festive season in East Bay, charming its visitors with variety of stalls selling fashion jewelry, handicrafts, henna art, colorful Indian apparel, home décor and an assortment of delectable mouth watering food from all over India. The park played host to happy children as they were seen jumping in inflatable bouncers, playing games, and participating in petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, and coloring.

Live dance and music performances were crowd pullers with Indian Bollywood music by FOG Band.
The action-packed day started with live entertainment on two stages. The performers, dressed in bold colors with ornate decorations, executed precise movements as they moved to the beat. The purpose of this festival is to get together and celebrate intercultural understanding that promotes economic and cultural prosperity.

(L-R) Raj Joshi, Dr. Romesh Japra ( Founder and Convener, FOG), Naresh Sodhi, Ritu Maheshwari, Rajesh Verma, Ram Malik and Shawn Ramani
(L-R) Raj Joshi, Dr. Romesh Japra ( Founder and Convener, FOG), Naresh Sodhi, Ritu Maheshwari, Rajesh Verma, Ram Malik and Shawn Ramani

The Ramayana came to life with the Ram Lila and Raas Leela performance put together by Rajesh and Madhu Gupta. Participants wore colorful costumes and re-enacted scenes from the Ramayana.

“I would like to thank all our sponsors, volunteers and supporters for making this event a success,” said Dr. Romesh Japra, Convener of FIA. Wells Fargo were the sponsors for Gala fireworks which started at about 8:15 pm and it was a 15 minute non-stop treat for the Bay area.

A Selfie with the Bollywood and TV celebrity Shabir Ahluwalia at FOG Diwali Festival and Fireworks at Zee TV booth were among the main attractions of the mela and thousands thronged the TV booth to take selfie with the superstar. Shabir is a popular TV star from famous Zee TV show “Kumkum Bhagya”. His Bollywood debut movie is “Shootout at Lokhandwala”. He has also worked in the movie “Mission Istanbul”. He plays cricket in Celebrity Cricket League for Mumbai Heroes.

There was a unique contest “Kaun Banega Best Rama”. Ten kids were dressed up as Lord Rama and showcased their costumes on the stage. A brand new iPad by Chandru Bhambhra was given to the best dressed Lord Rama selected by a panel of judges. FOG Diwali and Fireworks also had Global Kids Quiz – “It’s a Small World”. Kids learned about rich culture, dances, costumes, monuments, places, and information about states from all over India. This special theme was put together by Anima Desai and her team.

Many local dignitaries and community leaders participated in the celebrations. Alameda County Board of Education trustee Ellen McDonald, Assembly Woman Catharine Baker, Teresa Cox and Rishi Kumar graced the occasion.

The ancient tradition of Diwali includes the lighting of candles, setting off fireworks, and exchanging gifts and sweets. It celebrates the light of knowledge and truth overcoming the darkness of ignorance, said Rajesh Verma, Chairman of FIA, who worked meticulously for two months on this grand event. He attributed its success to the entire FIA team and its volunteers.

Vidya Sethuraman
India Post News Service

0 - 0

Thank You For Your Vote!

Sorry You have Already Voted!