BATA & TANA float wins first place in India Independence day Parade

Federation of Indo Americans organized the annual Festival of India function in Fremont, California to celebrate India’s Independence day on 15th and 16th of August. The two day festival is organized in an outdoor area with more than 100 trade, food, vendor & art booths and cultural programs through the day. The “Mela” this year was a big hit with over 20,000 people attending the two day event. The highlight of the second day is a grand parade which winds itself through the streets of central Fremont in which 25 floats and dancing groups participated. Popular Bollywood stars Neha Dhupia & Mauli Dave were the parade Grand Marshalls.

The Dance competition and free health fair on the 15th started at 11:00am when the mela gates were opened to the general public. The festival was opened with flag hoisting and national anthems of US and India. The 6 hour marathon of dances with kids in traditional colorful costumes was a treat to watch and thoroughly enjoyed by the festival attendees. The dance competition concluded with a prize distribution at the end of the event. Ms Vijaya Aasuri, Cultural Chair for FIA thanked all the parents, dance teachers for all the work that went into preparing the kids and getting them ready for their performances. She thanked her volunteer team Rajesh, Srilu, Srinivas, Sudha, Srini, Jyothi, Naresh and Vihar for the flawless execution of the event.

The pomp and pageantry of the popular Parade returned this year after a break of one year and was an instant hit. The parade was led a pair of a pair of Dhol players accompanying the flags of USA and India followed by a fire truck by the City of Fremont. Wellsfargo stage coach was a new addition this year bringing back the nostalgia of the Wild West. Bay Area Telugu Association has been displaying telugu culture on these floats through the years with innovative designs and themes. This year was no exception with the theme “Traditional Arts and Culture”. The float depicted the rich traditional culture and dance forms in India. A huge painting of Nataraja was displayed in the middle of the float with Kuchipudi, Bharatanatyam, Odissi, Kathak and folk dancers in traditional costumes and dance poses in front of the painting.

A walking group consisting of BATA members dressed in costumes delighted the crowd along the parade by their dances was led by President of Telugu Association of North Amercia Mr. Jayaram Komati, Veeru Vuppala (TANA Jt.Secretary) and President of Bay Area Telugu Association Mr. Prasad Mangina. The float was accompanied by a group of over 50 dancers dancing to telugu music. The audience along the 2 mile route of the parade applauded the float. The float resplendent with colorful costumes and playing telugu songs snaked it’s way through the streets of City of Fremont to applause from over 15,000 people lined up along the parade route. A lot of hard work and time went into the design of the float by a team of more than 40 volunteers with ideas and guidance from Karun, Sireesha, Narasimha Rao and Rajesh. Vijaya, Veeru, Prasad, Srinivas, Srilu, Ravi, Srini, Sai Kiran,, Kamesh, Swati, Sudha, Jyotsna, Raghu, Vijay, Hari, Kalyani, Aditya, Jyoti, Kalyan, Srikar, Naresh, Vihar, Shiva, Ravi Tej, Govind, and a whole host of more than 25 young volunteers of BATA toiled in the hot sun and cold nights to create and tastefully decorate the float. The unique aspect of the BATA float is that the float is entirely made by the volunteers. BATA float got the First prize and the award was presented by Mauli Dave. 

The Parade was followed a Grand Cultural program and awards ceremony. Cultural program was kicked off with a tribute to musical genius A.R. Rehman. The dance performances were choreographed by BATA team Vijaya, Srilu, Sai, Rajesh and Sireesha and masterfully executed by 40 members of the BATA team. Dr. Romesh Japra, Convener & President of the festival welcomed Neha Dhupia and Mauli Dave grand marshals for the parade. Neha Dhupia said that she was amazed by the culture and traditions on display in the parade and thanked everyone for giving her such a warm welcome and an unforgettable experience. Mauli Dave enthralled the audience with her performance. A special Persian dance choreographed to popular Bollywood songs was presented by Persian group Jewel of Opar. The festival ended with kids dances and performances by winners of dance competition.

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