Chicago IL: Festival of colors organized by Federation of Indian Associations (FIA Chicago, IL) was one of the biggest Indian cultural event which took place on Saturday, March 21st 2015 at DuPage County Fairgrounds, at Manchester Rd, Wheaton, IL. This event touched the hearts as well as the imaginations of Indian immigrants and natives simultaneously. Over 1,500 plus attendees enjoyed the vibrant colors, dazzling music, enthralling dances, sumptuous Indian food, clothing and jewellery sold by 40 local vendors.
The event brought out the best out of the FIA board members and volunteers. “It was a perfect 10 performance,” said Sunil Shah, the founding President of FIA who encouraged his team to bring new ideas and work together.
The idea of holding a mega Holi Mela in DuPage County was initiated by Moon Khan, the newly elected vice president of FIA. Onkar Sangha and Sunil Shah liked the idea and motivated everybody, entire team and volunteers work every hard to make this project a memorable event.
Equally inspiring has been the FIA’s current president, Onkar Sangha. “I feel honored and privileged to have the unmatched cooperation of my board members, I express my sentiment of joy as India has entered the world cup cricket tournament finals today ” Sangha stated.
More than 25 people worked tirelessly in securing the permits from the DuPage County Fairgrounds and DuPage County Health Department, solicited 40 vendors, lined up the cultural program artists, secured grand sponsorship from Haldirams and numerous other sponsors, arranged face painting, installed inflated children’s jumping house, invited a bag piper to perform free of charge at the event.
A special mention goes out to FIA board members Mukesh Shah and Dhitu Bhagwakar, Executive Vice Presidents; Shital Daftari, Ravi Kapoor, Neil Khot, Payal Shah, Vice Presidents; Mona Bhalla, Joint Secretary; Hitesh Gandhi Treasurer; and Directors- Manjeet Singh Bhalla, Ninad Daftari, Shalini Saxena, Ali Khan and Founding member Sunny Kular. Khaja Moinuddin put his engineering skills to use to manage the large crowd and his wife, Viqar Moinuddin handled the four ticket booths with several volunteers. Newly incorporated volunteer, Shevani Dua recruited her parents to help out. Shree Gurusamy, Senior Benefits Specialist at Metropolitan Asian Family Services joined the celebration and extended their support.
Shirish Shah invigorated the ambiance with his Dhol while audio expert Mehmood Minhas was calibrating the sound system. Nirav Shah was promoting the sponsoring vendors by running their commercials on a life-size projector. Ninad Daftari was playing music outside the main hall to engage frolicking enthusiasts. DJ Mr. Shaw showed his control on the pulse of the music.
Mona Bhalla not only emceed the program, she also sang and danced along with her children and her husband. Her entire family was there along with family members of Payal Shah and Shalini Saxena. These three ladies bring high-octane energy to FIA sponsored programs.
Sarrang and Nipa performed the songs of Jai Jai Shiv Shankar and Balam Pichkari. Bhupender Singh stole the hearts of the audience by singing Rang Barse, Khai Ke Pan Banaras wala, and Chinta ta ta. Mahijit Singh enthralled the audience with his song Holi Khele Raghubeera. Rinki Talati sung Nagada sang Dhol baje. Saarang also presented a solo song Har ghari.
Ravi Kapoor of Haldirams and Niranjan Bhai of Big Suchir brought cheer to the crowd by donating free gulals or colored powder.
Thanks to artists from Indian Fusion, Aradhya, Jugnu, Shringar School, Rhythm Dance along with Noman Khan, Sana Khan also who regaled the audience. Raffle was also organized for tickets to some entertainment shows like Adnan Sami, Ankit Tiwari, Naach Meri Jaan, Kagaz ki Kashtee, Gujjubhai Dabang, etc.
At the time of traditional lamp lighting, heads of several Indian organizations were on stage along with State Senator Tom Cullerton, DuPage County Auditor Bob Grogan, and Dennis Jung, Outreach Coordinator representing the Illinois Governor’s Office.
The main highlight of the event came when participants picked up colored powder and chased each other, tossing colors into the air and covering friends and strangers alike. They joy and excitement filled the air and created a memorable experience for all.
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