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New York to host Diwali fair

Thousands are expected to throng the Diwali mela organised by Association of Indians in New York.

india Updated: Oct 10, 2007 22:02 IST

A Diwali fair will be organised in Manhattan on Oct 14 complete with fireworks, Indian food, music and dance. A high point of the city's cultural calendar, it is expected to be thronged by thousands of people.

A tradition with the Indian-American community, the Deepavali Festival at the southernmost edge of Manhattan has spectacular fireworks lasting 20 minutes on the waterfront at South Street Seaport, a popular mall and entertainment arena.

The festival, now in its 20th year, is organised by the Association of Indians in America (AIA) New York chapter.

The outdoor event to celebrate Diwali, which falls on Nov 9 this year, is held every year in early October before the winter chill sets in.

"It sets the mood for Diwali festivities - entertainment shows, community events and private parties," AIA president Santosh Khera told IANS.

"Besides our mela being the biggest Diwali event in the US, you won't find anything similar even in India," said Khera.

Over 1,00,000 people are expected to visit the daylong mela, where the attractions include cultural shows, stalls and free raffles.

Classical and folk dance performances, mainly by children, will be held on one stage, while Bollywood songs and dances will be on the other.

Food vendors, ethnic Indian goods retailers, corporates and NGOs have booked over 80 stalls. A holistic health centre will offer free consultation and check-ups.

The exhibition area will highlight India's technological growth and economic reforms, as well as contemporary Indian art.

AIA boasts of hosting the first-ever Diwali at the White House in 2003 and at Gracie Mansion, the New York mayor's official residence, the next year.