It’s India Day

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August Issue View more

Leave your passport at home and dive into Indian culture at Naperville’s India Day Parade and Celebration, one of the largest Indian American festivals in the United States. Each year thousands travel to attend this free event commemorating India’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1947. Festivities run from noon to 10 p.m. August 14 at their new location at Rotary Hill Park (440 Aurora Ave.).

“We have multiple things happening all day long to engage people,” says Krishna Bansal, chairman of Indian Community Outreach, the Aurora-based organization that launched the celebration in 2015. Entertainment includes singing, dancing, and music during the local talent show as well as a preview of the latest trends in Indian wedding dresses, party wear, and jewelry during the fashion show. 

A wide array of Indian cuisine is available from local restaurants at the food court. Festgoers also can check out the Indian Fashion Bazaar, children’s activities, health fair, and various vendor booths. 

“India is very diverse from a cultural standpoint,” Bansal says. “Our celebration is a great display of Indian culture that you do not typically see unless you travel to India. Every region, every state of India brings their unique clothing, dances, decorations, and food.”

Stepping off 4 p.m. at Naperville North High School (899 N. Mill St.), more than 100 colorful floats and performers will represent India’s diversity during a one-mile parade through downtown. “There are many parades in Naperville, but this is a different kind of parade—it’s more of a cultural showcase,” Bansal explains. “People from all different regions of India come and participate.”

The celebration culminates with a concert featuring Bollywood star Guru Randhawa. “In India, people would pay hundreds of dollars for this type of concert, but thanks to our sponsors and volunteers, it is free for the community to enjoy,” Bansal says.

Naperville began celebrating India’s Independence Day with a symbolic flag ceremony in 2008. Seven years later, then-mayor George Pradel, recognizing the large Indian American population in the city, suggested that the ICO host a parade. Since then the event has expanded into an all-day celebration. In fact, Naperville is the first of the Chicago suburbs to support and host such an event. During the year, the ICO also sponsors numerous events and programs that embrace, preserve, and promote Indian American heritage and culture. For more info, visit
indiancommunityoutreach.org

Photos courtesy of Indian Community Outreach