The 15th Annual Festival of India was kicked off with a ceremonial lighting of the “flame of independence” at IACA on July 10, 2011. This year also marks the 40th anniversary of IACA, which made it extra special.
Padma Rallapalli, Program Director of the Festival of India, welcomed the audience and Sneha Mehta, President of IACA, encouraged the audience to attend this upcoming event on August 7, 2011 at the Gwinnett Civic Center.
The torch-lighting took place in the presence of a small but enthusiastic crowd. After that, a short cultural program was presented. Lakshmi Vedala, Vice President of IACA, introduced the participants of the cultural program to the audience.
Anusha Gorda started the program and sang the American National Anthem beautifully. Pallavi Rallapalli then played the Indian National Anthem on the violin, with Nitin Rallapalli on the drums The audience joined them by singing the Indian National Anthem .
The other highlights of the program were a Kathak presentation by Banhi Nandi’s students, Ria Singi and Divya Virmani; a Maharashtrian dance by Yash and Mihir Saggere, Nikki and Richi Lokhande; a patriotic song by Anusha Gorda and the program ended with a dance rendition of “Jai Ho” by 10-year old Nikki Lokhande.
Refreshments were served to the audience courtesy of Royal Indian Cuisine, and delectable sweets were also served, courtesy of Shivam groceries.
The Chief Guest at the event was Greg Pridgeon. Mr. Pridgeon has served as Chief of Staff to former Mayor of Atlanta, Ms. Shirley Franklin. He cherished his long association and great relationship with the Indian community. Padmini Sharma, former President of IACA, also graced the occasion with her presence. Mr. Pridgeon and Mrs.Sharma were presented bouquets by the IACA team.
Nivedita Garabadu, Secretary of IACA, thanked all the participants, guests, and sponsors for making this a memorable event.