US diaspora to celebrate India Festival

Members of the Indian diaspora in Ohio are set to celebrate a grand India Festival at the famous Celeste Centre this weekend, a media report said.

The festival, to be held on Saturday, was first organised in 1999 as a modest fair but gained momentum in the past 17 years and has now become “a full-blown” event, The Columbus Dispatch reported on Friday.

“It is the biggest (Indian festival) in Ohio,” Amar Pandey, chairman FIA-Ohio, was quoted as saying.

“We try to bring a little bit of India to the festival a” the lights, the aroma of the spices, the food. The culture — with its music, entertainment and ambience — is very, very friendly,” he added.

The festival, run by the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA), will serve authentic food, traditional music and a taste of both ancient and contemporary cultures.

“India Festival” is hosted annually to create awareness about the diversity of the Indian culture with all its splendour and entertainment.

The event attracts the largest gathering of the Indian community from Ohio and surrounding states.

Last year, nearly 18,000 people attended the event – a 500 percent increase in attendance over the last five years.

“During the past decade and a half, the festival has become a reunion of sorts for those from India living in Columbus, but that does not mean the festival is exclusive,” Pandey said.

“People who are native to India have settled down here and are your neighbours and the people who work with you,” Pandey said, adding “the festival is a great way to connect with them on a different level.”