Wisconsin community celebrates 10th IndiaFest in Milwaukee

IndiaFest Milwaukee 2022 flaghoisting. Seen here Founder and President of Spindle India Inc. Purnima Nath, former State Representative Jim Ott and other attendees, Aug. 20, 2022. Photo: Spindle India, Inc.

The Indian-American community celebrated the 75th anniversary of India’s independence from British rule at the 10th IndiaFest Milwaukee in Wisconsin, Saturday August 20, 2022.

Kicking off festivities with the hoisting of the tricolor flag of India and national anthems of both countries, India and the United States, elected leaders and dignitaries participated in the lamplighting ceremony.
A chariot of Lord Jagannath, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, adorned with intricately decorated deities and traditional ornaments led the parade, accompanied by singing of devotional songs.
Governor of Wisconsin Tony Evers, Mayor of Milwaukee Cavalier Johnson, Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, Supreme Court Justice Brian Hagedorn, US Senator Ron Johnson, State Senator Chris Larson, Ambassador of India to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Consul General of India (Midwest) Amit Kumar, Milwaukee Alderman Ashanti Hamilton and Mayor of Sun Prairie Paul Esser were among the invitees. Both the country’s flags were highlighted throughout the celebration, signifying the strong India-US relationship.
Lamp lighting ceremony August 20, 2022, at the IndiaFest Milwaukee 2022, attended by State Representative Scott Allen, former Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly, Founder Spindle India, Inc. Purnima Nath, Milwaukee County Chief Equity Officer Jeff Ramon, former State Representative Jim Ott and IFM volunteers. Photo: Spindle India, Inc.

Among others present were State Representative Scott Allen, former Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly, State Representative Dan Knodl, Former State Representative Jim Ott, Fond Du Lac District Attorney Eric Toney, and Milwaukee County Chief Equity Officer Jeff Roman.

Officially, Aug 15th, 2022 was proclaimed as INDIA DAY in Wisconsin by Governor Tony Evers, in Milwaukee County by Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, and in the City of Milwaukee by Mayor Cavalier Johnson.

India, the land of diversity and inclusion – showcasing flag of India and United States signifying India-US relations at the Aug. 20, 2022 IndiaFest Milwaukee 2022. Photo: Spindle India, Inc.

IndiaFest Milwaukee showcased the culture, history, and heritage of India’s ancient Indic civilization, not just through its cuisine and classical dance, but also traditional clothing, narrations explaining cultural aspects, and displays of arts. Indian Instrument DJ Jason McKinsey, who is associated with David Letterman’s show, returned from a European tour the day of IndiaFest Milwaukee and performed a unique rendition with classical Indian instruments.

Hindustani classical music on the sitar, an eons-old Indian stringed instrument, was presented by Indrajit Banerjee, who traveled from Texas to Milwaukee. Contemporary Bollywood music was performed by the popular Orchestra SaReGaMa from Illinois.

Local talent was showcased through martial arts, classical and contemporary music, and traditional and Bollywood dance art forms. Children engaged in creating Indian flags and making arts/crafts related to Indian culture and heritage.

In the midst of attendees was a travel blogger from Los Angeles who came to IndiaFest Milwaukee before planning a trip to India. IndiaFest Milwaukee in Wisconsin delighted him, a press release from organizers said.

A number of companies and organizations supported and contributed to the festival, including Wisdom Infotech, Trayix, Planned Parenthood, Airport Animal Hospital, India Garden, True Skool, VK Petroleum, West Allis Veterinary Clinic, North Side Petroleum, and Best Brains. Volunteers of IndiaFest Milwaukee 2022 helped with morning set up despite occasional showers, even when it seemed like it would be soaked for the entire day. But, organizers said, “Perhaps Lord Jagannath had protected the celebration from up above.”

Launched by the non-profit organization founded by Purnima Nath, IndiaFest Milwaukee is an opportunity to get a glimpse of the warmth, breadth, and depth of India. “IndiaFest Milwaukee is an inclusive platform that transcends religion, region, language, culture, community, borders and political bias to promote true diversity, equality, and the value of inclusion and coexistence,” the press release said.

The volunteer-run Spindle India is led by Nath as President. She said, “In America, people do not know much about Indian culture beyond a few popular food items such as curry, samosa, naan.” She went on to say, “Sadly, there are many misconceptions about India, the Indian community, and the ancient Indic civilization in the United States. Through such avenues and platforms, we can break barriers of cultural differences and communicate about the oldest-living-surviving Indian civilization through education, learning, and connecting that foster understanding and opens the doors to potential broader acceptance.”



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