Energy and vitality marked the 4th Annual North East Ohio India Festival USA with its ongoing theme: Bridging Cultures, Generations. This year the focus was “Our Children, Our Future”. It was held at Independence Middle School & Gymnasium on September 14, 2013. About 6000 people attended the show organized by Bharat Kumar, Dr. Deb Roy, Abhay Gaekwad and a host of other workers and volunteers.
Events through the day which included a talent show, dances by various groups including Dhamakapella from Caser Western Reserve, a puppet show in partnership with the Cleveland Museum of Art, a cartoon exhibition, a fun corner for kids and robotics. There was colorful ethnic wear and jewelry being sold, Indian books and also food from local Indian restaurants.
The evening show had Russ Mitchell of Channel 3 as the MC. There were dance performances by students of Cleveland State University, and the Julia De Burgos Cultural Center. The Shaker Heights High School Cheerleading Team presented a fusion of cheerleading moves set to Bollywood music. Midwest Indian hip hop artist Khil Datta from Columbus also performed on stage.
Awards were presented to Nina Turner, Ohio State Senator, 25th District, R Balasubramaniam (Balu) who founded the Aradhana Committee which has organized the Cleveland Thyagaraja festival now in its 36th year and Eric Gordon, the Chief Executive Office of the Cleveland metropolitan School District. According to Turner, “The show was awe inspiring; they have certainly lived up to their mantra of binding cultures together. I wish I could carry this spirit everyday in this country.” Festival Theme Partners, North South Foundation and Cleveland Leadership Center, were also recognized.
- (Cheryl D’Mello, Editor, Lotus, October 2013)