India Day festival in Naperville this weekend

Abhijay Rana, waves the American and Indian flags during a previous Indian Independence Day celebration at the Naperville Municipal Center. This year's India Day event will include cultural activities, food and more. | File photo
Abhijay Rana, waves the American and Indian flags during a previous Indian Independence Day celebration at the Naperville Municipal Center. This year's India Day event will include cultural activities, food and more. | File photo

Cultural activities, arts and crafts, food and more will be showcased this Sunday during the celebration of India Day in Naperville.

The event will honor the country’s 68th year of independence.

From 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. the festival will be held near the downtown area in Central Park at 104 E. Benton Ave. The event will again be offered by the Alliance of Midwest India Association.

Chairman Prem Lalvani said the Alliance has offered the celebration for the past five years and that the sixth celebration promises to be the biggest yet, as it is the first time it will be expanded from just an hour-long flag raising ceremony to a full-blown festival.

“We used to have just a flag raising ceremony near the City Hall where they have these three flag poles, but a lot of people have been asking for more,” Lalvani said. “I have been involved in Asian festivals downtown at the Daley Center and know a lot of vendors and farmers who we have contacted for this event.”

Lalvani said the hope is to attract about 2,000 to 3,000 people during the first expanded festival day and let the word spread from there. A total of 20 vendors will be on hand offering food, services, and products.

“We’re looking to reach out to more people, and we know that Naperville has one of the largest concentrations of people of Indian descent in the country,” he said. “A number of politicians have attended the events we’ve held in Chicago, and some of them as well as local politicians have promised they are going to try and stop by.”

There is no admission to the event nor will there be any sort of fundraiser or raffle held, Lalvani said. The focus is to just come and enjoy the day.

“The purpose of doing this is to give people a chance to reconnect with their roots,” he said. “We hope a lot of people will come and talk about it and that next year’s festival will be even bigger.”

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