NEW YORK, NY (TIP): The New York Chapter of the Association of Indians in America (AIA-NY) hosted a Deepavali event at South Street Seaport, New York City on October 6th, 2013. The event lasted an entire day and was organized in order to celebrate the Hindu holiday, Deepavali, symbolizing the elimination of evil and the establishment of good. This was AIA’s 26th year celebrating this event at the South Street Seaport. In conjunction with the other colorful cultural events, the highlight this year was a record breaking bhangra party led by the famous DJ Rekha of Basement Bhangra. The celebration broke the Guinness record for the largest coordinated bhangra dance and DJ Rekha and AIA collaborated to make history. Pankhuri of the famous Star India Plus TV Show, “Pyaar Ka Dard Hain Meetha Meetha Pyaara Pyaara”, stole the hearts of the crowd. Omi Vaidya, famous for his role in the popular movie “3 Idiots”, entertained the audience with his presence. Later, Pankhuri and Vaidya came together to conduct “Main Bhi Star” in order to select a candidate to act in a future soap opera.
There were beautiful traditional dances held on the main stage at pier 16 while contemporary Bollywood dances rocked the stage near Water Street. Although AIA provided twelve food vendors in expectation of the large crowds that would be flocking to this event, there were still lines wrapped around the venue. Meena Bazaar sold traditional clothing and other items in big numbers. The weather was beautiful and enhanced the overall feeling of the event. All of the programs were seamlessly organized and coordinated well with each other and their respective audiences. The evening VIP hour was held on the waterfront with a spectacular view of the fireworks. It was attended by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Deputy Council General of India to New York, Dr. Devyani Khobragade, Congresswoman Grace Meng and New York City Comptroller John Liu. The Republican candidate for Mayor of New York, Joe Lhota, also stopped by to wish a happy Deepavali to the Indian community. Reshma Saujani represented public advocate and Democratic mayoral candidate Bill Di Blassio at the event and communicated his best wishes for Deepavali to the community. Awards of appreciation were distributed to all the major sponsors by Dr. Khobragade on behalf of AIA. The evening concluded with magnificent fireworks on the East River. The event was a great success overall and carried on the AIA tradition of celebrating Deepavali in New York City with pomp and splendor.