NEW YORK CITY (TIP): The Association of Indians in America, NY Chapter (AIA-NY) organized the 27th Annual Deepavali Festival at the South Street Seaport here on October 5th. The festivities were a fun-filled event for the entire family that concluded with a grand display of live fireworks on the East River, overlooking the NYC bridges and skyline.

The AIA Diwali at South Street Seaport has always been one of the largest of its kind attracting tens of thousands of people from all walks of life and communities. Deepavali or Diwali, or the ‘Festival of Lights’ signifies the triumph of ‘Good over the Evil’.

The festival, this year, was attended by the Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio along with members of the Congress Grace Meng & Carolyn Maloney, New York City Comptroller, Scott Stringer and Manhattan Borough President, Gail Brewer. Many political dignitaries and community leaders also graced the occasion. Continued support over the years was generously provided by sponsors Life OK, Moneygram, Moneydart, State Farm, just to name a few.

Organizers of the AIA 27th Diwali with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio

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A classical dance by the students of Nartanrang Dance Academy, directed by Swati Vaishnav.

The mammoth gathering

Deepavali was a full day celebration with numerous cultural booths, music, and food vendors. The festival comprised of performances and activities for the whole family including a holistic health fair and children’s fair. One of the latest attractions to the festival this year was the inter-collegiate dance competition, Naach Inferno. Participating dance teams were from colleges and universities such as Stony Brook, Adelphi and Columbia. Drexel University Jhalak and City Chaahat from City College of New York took first and second place respectively. Naach Inferno was supported by one of India’s leading entertainment channels Life OK. The Indian culture was showcased at its peak where two popular and traditional folk dances; Bhangra & Garba were performed with the audience participating. Sarina Jain, creator of
“Masala Bhangra,” also known as the ‘Jane Fonda of India’ rocked the stage along with her troupe. To engage the attendees further a Live Garba was organized on the Pier 16 deck led by none other than the renowned Gujrati singer, Praful Dave.

As always, AIA-NY had a mouth-watering food fair serving an authentic Indian as well as fusion cuisine. A Holistic Health Fair where free information on various medical issues was also set up. Dental screening courtesy of the Indian Dental Association, free blood pressure checkup and many other health services were also provided. Dr. Pankaj Naram, a very well-known Ayurvedic doctor was also present for interaction with the guests.

Unforgettable dance performances ranging from Bollywood to semi-classical and fusion graced both the Main Stage & Aaja Nachle Stage throughout the day. Splendor showcase of Indian culture, arts and crafts, jewelry, traditional clothes and an evening of music and dance were only some of the other highlights that AIA-NY’s 27th Deepavali brought to New York City this year.

“We owe it to the community that has shown us their support along with the NYPD, FDNY and the city that we can put on such a festival continuously for the past 3 decades and will do so for many more years to come,” said Sunil Modi, the current president of the AIA-NY chapter.

The Association of Indians in America (AIA), founded in 1967, is the oldest not-for-profit organization of Asian Indians in America. It is the grassroots national organization of Asian Indian immigrants to the United States. With chapters and membership spread across the US, AIA represents the hopes and aspirations of those immigrants who are united by their common bond of Indian Heritage and American Commitment. For further information, please go to

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