The 4th Queens India Day Parade organized by Floral Park – Bellerose Indian Merchants Association, took place Aug. 11, with a high level of participation from local organizations and residents.
More than 25 organizations participated in the 1.2 mile march which began from 263rd Street and Hillside Avenue, proceeding west-bound to 236th street, a press release from organizers said.
The parade was led by a contingent of mounted police and color guard from the New York Police Department. A group of NYPD officers of Indian origin, followed along with fire truck.
There were 6 colorful decorated floats that displayed the diversity of states in India, and also included Veterans Color Guard, Queens Village Republican Club and Laffey real estate.
An American band was one of the major attractions.
Hundreds lined up on the parade route and cheered the marchers. Vendors distributed water, sweets, buttermilk and cookies on the route, the press release said.
The parade terminated in Padavan Preller Field on 236th street followed by a formal function where several elected officials were also present.
According to an India Abroad newspaper report Aug. 13, Congressman Tom Suozzi, D-NY, was the guest of honor. However, he left the event after being confronted by one of the Indian-American leaders who demanded he apologize for writing a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to make Kashmir a high priority of U.S. foreign policy.
Other elected officials at Padavan Preller Field, included the Comptroller of New York state Thomas DiNapoli, State Senators, State Assemblymen, Nassau County Executive, Town of Hempstead Supervisor and other dignitaries attended and presented Citations and Proclamations to Fbima executive committee members.
Noted Bollywood celebrities Omi Vaidya, Prachee Shah, and Tollywood superstar Shweta Menon entertained the audience with jokes and songs.
There were several food and other booths, as well as kids rides and activities. Cultural programs followed which included not only songs from Bollywood and other parts of India but also children dancing to patriotic songs.
Thousands enjoyed the performances, according to organizers.