New York: India’s anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare will be a surprise guest of honour at the largest India Day Parade in America in Manhattan next Sunday as Indian-Americans celebrate India’s Independence Day.
Now in its 33rd year, the parade organised annually by the Federation of Indian Associations, will also feature Bollywood film star Vidya Balan as grand marshal and Sarath Kumar and Raddhila as other guests of honour. But a couple of other parades that have gained prominence over the last few years stole a march over the big one by celebrating the day over the weekend and attracted thousands of watchers.
Colourful floats and entertainment programmes highlighting India’s culture and heritage, and, of course cuisine, marked the parades in Long Island, a New York suburb, and two more in New Jersey.
An estimated 15,000 people attended the parade held in Hicksville, the newest ‘Little India’ located in Nassau County on Sunday, with Nassau county executive Ed Mangano, Bollywood actress Aarti Chhabria, and Miss USA 2005 Chelsea Cooley as main guests.
There were 17 floats including those of Air India, grocery stores chain Patel Brothers, and 30 booths including those of banks and insurance companies.
“Being a patriotic Indian, I am honoured and proud to be the Grand Marshal at the India Day Parade of Long Island,” said Chhabria as she broke into a jig along the parade route.
Even Cooley, dressed in an Indian outfit, showed her newly mastered Bollywood moves during the entertainment programme. The Long Island parade was telecast live by Global Punjabi TV. The South Asian Times was Platinum Sponsor & leading Media Partner. IANS