Heritage of India Festival in Westchester, NY, promises something for everyone

Hiral Trivedi, co-chair of IACAW, left, and Rohit Pandya, founding member and past-president, discussing Heritage of India Festival on ITV Gold, July 25, 2022. Photo: videograb
Himanshu Pandya, left, and Lisa Shah being interviewed on ITV Gold July 25, 2022, regarding Heritage of India Festival in Westchester,NY. Photo: videograb ITV Gold footage

Organizers of the 2022 Heritage of India fair in Westchester, New York’s Kensico Dam Plaza, on August 4, promise there will be” something for everyone” at the mela after a hiatus of two years because of the pandemic.

From a kids’ center, youth participation in dances and theater, seniors’ activities, a fashion show, vendors of Indian products, foods of every kind from dosas to panipuris, you name it, they have it, said executive members of the Indian American Cultural Association of Westchester, during a July 25 interview on ITV Gold, a part of Parikh Worldwide Media.

Members of the core committee for the festival who spoke virtually on ITV Gold, included Lisa Shah, a 2nd generation Indian-American who is the Festival Chair; founding members Himanshu Pandya and Rohit Pandya, founding member and past president, and Hiral Trivedi, co-chair of IACAW.

Executive members of IACAW’s core team for organizing the Heritage Festival of India Heritage Festival Aug. 4, 2022, being interviewed on ITV Gold on July 25. Seen from left, Hiral Trivedi, Rohit Pandya, Himanshu Pandya, and Lisa Shah. Photo: videograb ITV Gold

Shah said this was the 22nd annual Heritage of India festival and that this year was more noteworthy because it is the 75th year of India’s independence from British rule.

This year, the theme of the fair/festival is “Peace and Harmony” and it the symbol to represent this is a Banyan tree, Shah noted. “We chose the Banyan tree because of its deep roots, each different but intertwined. That is how we see all of us coming together,” Indians and non-Indians, Shah said.

Rohit Pandya described the year-long events held by IACAW including religious and non-religious programs, calling it a “jam-packed schedule” and enormous variety.

Himanshu Pandya said all those working on the upcoming festival were passionate about promoting Indian culture and work long hours over four months volunteering to make this festival a success.

Organizers estimate more than previous large attendance ranging from 6,000 to 12,000 people. There will be a main stage where dances and other performances will take place. Some 500 chairs in front of the stage for people who wish to sit and watch; plus a section for children with activities of all kinds; the same for seniors; and the highlight “Panipuri competition” which has proved very popular in the past.

They advised people to car pool or use mass transit to get to the festival as parking spaces may be limited. They thanked the Westchester Parks Department for its support, including Park Police personnel.

“There’s always something for someone,” said Rohit Pandya describing the producs, and vendors at the festival.

It is “the happening place,’ said Himanshu Pandya.

The last Heritage of India Festival was held in person in 2019, and a virtual one in 2021. So, the excitement is immense for renewing the in-person event, organizers emphasized. They called the site of the event, Kensico Dam Plaza, as a “spectacular” venue worth visiting.

Shah emphasized the support received from sponsors and individuals.

Trivedi said the day starts with a prayer and breaking of a coconut. Kids start the events and nation anthems will be sung by students. Dances will follow. She encouraged everyone to attend the effort of IACAW to bring India to the U.S., like a “home away from home.”



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