On Saturday, August 18, the India Association of Minnesota, a non-profit started four decades ago, held IndiaFest, its annual flagship program. According to organizers the festival which took place on the Minnesota State Capitol Grounds, attracted an estimated 25,000 people through the day, starting at 11 AM and going on till 9 PM.
That day, “… the great state of Minnesota woke up to celebrate India – its rich heritage, traditions, diversity, and culture with gusto and enthusiasm – without ever stepping out of the state,” asserted the India Association of Minnesota. And there are videos on the Facebook site to prove it. https://www.facebook.com/IndiaAssociationOfMinnesota/videos/901816203361802/
“This year the festival was bigger and better than ever with a number of quality community performances,” organizers said on their website, including three well known Indian classical dance groups and local bands from the twin cities participated.
St.Paul Mayor Melvin Carter was the chief guest and hoisted the flags of India and the United States.
The festival also included Indian cuisine from 7 local restaurants, live Bollywood music, yoga & meditation, exhibits, cultural displays, and a large bazaar with numerous vendors.
The India Association of Minnesota (IAM) awarded six student achievement awards. To further add to the festivities, a lively parade went around the Capitol Grounds highlighting India’s diversity and culture.
Cuisines from seven Twin Cities Indian restaurants including: Nawabi Hyderabad, Bawarchi, Bluefox, Persis Biryani, iGrill, Surabhi Indian Restaurant and Hyderabad Indian Grill; Exhibits included booths with traditional decorations, activities, and displays of culture from various regions of India showcasing the diversity of India’s 29 states; Festival-goers got to enjoy Indian classical, semi-classical, Bollywood and regional solo and group dance performances. A DJ and local bands entertained those gathered; Fun activities for adults and kids of all ages included henna, nail painting, face painting, kite flying, chess, cricket, plus, yoga and meditation. demonstration of Indian martial arts such as the Silambam training workshop by Gowrishankar Govindhan; The bazaar was filled with shops selling traditional Indian clothing, jewelry and accessories.
There were also many giveaways from corporate sponsors and organizations
“It was exciting to witness the diversity and vitality of the people who attended the event,” IAM said in its press release, thanking the community and sponsors for their continuing collaboration. “We are proud to represent the 50,000+ Asian Indians who call Minnesota their home,” IAM said on its website.