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13,000 people attend FIA-Central Ohio's India fest

October 22, 2008 23:18 IST

The Federation of Indian Associations in Central Ohio marked its silver jubilee at its 10th annual India Festival, organized September 20 at the Veteran's Memorial facility in downtown Columbus, and attended by more than 13,000 people.

The attendance at the festival has grown exponentially each year, Rupam Choksi, FIA vice president, told India Abroad. The FIA was formed in 1983 to bring the Central Ohio Asian Indian Associations under one umbrella as well as to coordinate cultural, educational, social, economic, and community affairs.

The India Festival is one of the premier events of its kind in Ohio.

The daylong celebration featured an entertainment program, a talent hunt, performances by local dancers and musicians, a fashion show, health fair, children's activities, educational theater, a tourism and picture gallery, Indian cuisine, and an India shopping bazaar.

In the FIA's fifth annual cricket tournament, held September 6 at the Bush Sports Park, 24 teams from across Ohio competed. Lucky D Punter, a Columbus-based team, defeated the Hilliard Techies in the finals. Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, an India Festival regular, presented the winners with a trophy.

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland congratulated the FIA.

'I salute the FIA on the occasion of their 25th anniversary and for hosting this annual event and recognize the many volunteers and participants who contribute their time and energy to guarantee the Festival's continued success,' the governor said.

Richard Cordray, state treasurer who was the keynote speaker, praised the Indian community in Ohio and said he wished to attend the Festival every year.

The FIA has been instrumental in getting Ahmedabad, Gujarat, recognized as a sister city of Columbus. Columbus honored the FIA with its Volunteer Organization of the Year award. FIA Chairman Niranjan Patel also received from it the Volunteer of the Year award.

The entertainment program ended with a live performance by Rex D'souza, a of finalist of the Indian reality television singing contest Fame Gurukul 2005.

Ethnic shopping opportunities at the Festival included traditional clothing, artifacts, jewelry, and paintings from vendors all around the country. Indian cuisine booths included representation from all major Indian food vendors in Columbus.

The health fair, sponsored by the Association of American Physicians of Indian Origin and the Bharatiya Hindu Temple of Central Ohio, had more than 15 doctors providing free health screenings, including services like cardiac consultation, blood pressure checkup, pediatric consultation, diabetes screening, heart risk assessment, eye evaluation, dietary consultation, and EKG testing.

The educational theater and tourism gallery helped visitors learn more about India's history, people, culture and places of interest. 

A Correspondent