CHICAGO – The Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) of Chicago, along with the village of Oakbrook, Illinois, held its Festival of Colors and Food at the McDonalds Soccer Fields, May 6. Around 1,500 people came to celebrate as four emcee’s Geetanjali Maru, Pratibha Jairath, Jigar Shah and Saurin Thakkar, conducted the proceedings, a press release from Asian Media USA said. The event started with a performance by Madhura Sane and her team from the Nritya Natya Academy.
Founder President of FIA Sunil Shah, and his wife Rita Shah, FIA President Neil Khot and Anuradha Khot, FIA Founder & Past President Onkar Singh Sangha came on stage to greet attendees.
Sunil Shah thanked the people of Chicagoland for turning up in big numbers for the event, as did other speakers at the event. Neil Khot thanked all sponsors and specifically thanked Gopal Lalmalani, Oak Brook Village president as well as McDonalds for their generosity.
Consul General of India Neeta Bhushan praised the efforts of the FIA for organizing different kinds of events for the Indian diaspora in Chicagoland.
Lalmalani thanked the FIA for organizing the event in Oak Brook and bringing attention to Oak Brook as a festival destination. Other dignitaries at the event included -Event Chair Ashok Lakshmanan, Chief Supporter Syed Hussaini, V. Malini of Air India, State Representative Michelle Mussman, Oakbrook Village Trustees Edward Tiesenga, Asif Yusuf , and Syed Moin, as well as Mayor of Hanover Park Rodney Craig, Tom Daily, Asha and Anil Oroskar, Manny Gandhi, and FIA past president and founding member Rita Singh.
Awards for excellence in business and for community service were presented to those selected.
Then, using color filled power blasters, Holi colors were thrown at the audience and the event was thrown open. This was the cue that the crowds were waiting for, and the air was filled with colors and water as people of all ages started coloring each other. The two stilt walkers also added to the fun by throwing color at people from up above.
A performance by the award-winning FUNKA DESI band that blends Indian music (Bhangra, Bollywood, Folk) with Reggae, Funk, and Afro-Caribbean Grooves, was a highlight. Other groups that performed included Bollywood Groove that led the crowd with dance moves; Alokita and her dance group from her dance academy Jhankaar Dance; and SSR Chicago adult students who presented a medley on Bollywood music.