Celebrating 70 years of India’s Independence, thousands filled Knoch Park for India Day.
Traditional food and fun had everyone busy for the third annual celebration. The colorful parade was a highlight in the afternoon, showcasing many organizations in the area that represent a piece of India.
“We came here to represent our North America Chhattisgarh Association which is in the central part of India, and we are so proud that we are participating here for the first time, and really present our Chhattisgarh for the first time in the United States, which is a big achievement for us. This is the first time someone is representing our state here in the United States,” said Deepali Saraogi of the North America Chhattisgarh Association.
Others were there to simply enjoy the celebration with the community.
“My parents are Indian so I decided to come out here and celebrate my heritage with members of the community,” said Ria Garg, a Naperville resident.
“India’s Independence Day is very important for us and it’s good to be here,” said Munish Kaistha, a Naperville resident. “We are fortunate to see this parade in the Naperville area, we don’t have to go far. And for the last three years we have been coming here and love to see all the floats and it’s a good event and gathering is good.”
And those who helped organize the event found a something more to be had for everyone.
“We want our community to become an integrated part of the United States,” said volunteer Hasmukh Shah from Aurora. “And since there are a lot of people who are well educated and well settled here, for almost the last 50 years, we’d like them to be a part of it, and we want to share our cultural diversity, so everybody can come enjoy the food and also the entertainment and also see the different flavor of India.”
The night came to a close in a big Bollywood way, with star Mika Singh taking the stage for a musical performance, followed by fireworks.
India Day is put on by Indian Community Outreach and this year saw roughly 10,000 come out to get to know the country and celebrate its independence.
Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.