The fifth India Day Parade and celebrations held Aug. 11, 2019, showcased the rich culture and heritage of Indian-Americans in the Midwest.
Organized by Indian Community Outreach (ICO) of Naperville, IL, the event was attended by more than 35,000 Indian-Americans from around the U.S., including several thousand local residents, according to a press release from organizers who said this year’s event was “very special” including a colorful parade with over 70 entries including 35 intricately crafted and decorated floats, and sponsored by various community organizations, businesses, armed forces, and restaurants.
More than 100 booths offered products, a health fair, an International food court, a children’s park, and ethnic Indian bazaar with lots of fashion, clothing, jewelry and furniture attracted parade-goers and festival attendees.
Krishna Bansal, chairman and president of the ICO, said that the Celebrations and the Parade were aimed at engaging Indian Americans into the mainstream fabric of America. This event has not only created huge awareness and respect for India, it has re-instigated the love and pride for India amongst first and x-generation of adults and youths here from India, Bansal is quoted saying in the press release. He specially recognized the dignitaries, partners, sponsors, media, and volunteers and everyone who contributed to the success of the event.
Many people lined the Grand Parade route waving flags of both the United States and India. The Parade showcased culture, dances, and uniqueness of more than 20 states of India and was aired live by many media outlets, including NCTV17 and TV Asia, the press release said.
The mile-long parade had as its Grand Marshalls Salim & Suleiman in the lead waving the Indian tricolor, and the presence of personnel from the U.S. Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps enhanced the experience. A uniformed crew of Air India was a special attraction.
The talent show included performances by dance groups of Chicagoland. The winner of the talent show, Soorya Dance School performed on the main stage in the evening. Chicago Parai Team won second place followed by UC Bhangra & SSR Dance School.
The free Health Fair with 23 providers conducted blood pressure, blood sugar, bone density screening and made available services like physical therapy, nutritionists, internal medicine, pain specialists and pediatrician available to answer questions.
The Children’s park led by Kids Matter was a center of attraction with bouncy houses, face painting, educational activities and a petting zoo. There was an autism / mental awareness booth with specialists providing guidance, which according to organizers, was very much appreciated.
The evening segment of the program kicked off with remarks from elected officials and community leaders. Sponsors who helped make this event free for all, were thanked.
The event concluded with a music concert featuring the Bollywood singing sensations Salim-Suleiman, Sukhbir Singh, Rex Dsouza & Shilpi Paul rocked the evening with Indian patriotic songs and hits. Fireworks made a bright end to the evening.
Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico said that he was pleasantly overwhelmed to see the response of Indian Americans to the celebrations and parade, adding that Indians are respected across the globe for their right attitude and positive work ethics.
Consul General of India Sudhakar Dalela was the guest of honor. He congratulated ICO and wished everyone Happy Independence Day of India. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthy, D-Illinois; Illinois State Rep. Grant Wehrli, a Republican, and many other elected officials and prominent leaders of Chicago and Naperville also attended.
Viral Shah, ICO treasurer noted that the free public event was made possible because of sponsors, including Grand Sponsor Patel Brothers, Event Sponsor Mall of India and many corporations and local organizations.
Vasavi Chakka, ICO board member, said the Parade surpassed expectations in both magnitude and participation. “We are constantly working to raise the bar to prove to the world that the Indian-Americans are the best, both as human beings and professionals,” Chakka is quoted saying in the press release.
Dinkar Karumuri, also an ICO board member, thanked technology companies of Chicagoland for stepping up in supporting the event while providing local jobs to area residents.