After a virtual event in 2020 Indian Americans for Burlington (IAB) is preparing their signature Diwali celebration for Sunday, September 26th from 4:00p.m. to 7:00p.m. on the Burlington Town Common.
A major celebration in Indian culture, Diwali the festival of lights usually lasts for five days. IAB President Shital Bhammar explained that this year Diwali is actually November 4th, however IAB traditionally put on the event the last Sunday in September to avoid any possible inclement weather. Bhammar says this year’s theme “Healing for Humanity” goes hand in hand with the four point mission of IAB.
“Charitable; we’ll be holding a raffle with proceeds benefiting the People Helping People food pantry. Civic; we are inviting the Select Board and town dignitaries so the community gets to know them and they get to the residents. For the Community aspect we are bringing everyone together to celebrate Diwali and there is Education and that’s kids businesses,” explained Bhammar.
A new addition to the celebration this year is an invitation to young entrepreneurs. IAB is reaching out to kids from 1st through 12th grade to share their ingenuity, inventions and products. Bhammar says they just have to bring their own table if they have something to showcase or sell.
“We’re encouraging them to learn the basics of business. Learn to market the product you make and bring it to market and sell it,” said Bhammar. “Something they really want to share”.
IAB Secretary Shweta Mathur who is serving as Program Manager for this year’s celebration says they have already had a great response from vendors with 20 or so set for the occasion. The emphasis is on local business and food vendors to give back to the Burlington community following the economic shortfall in 2020. According to Mathur the Town Common will have Indian decorations, a photo booth and feature exhibitions representing each state in the country of India.
There will also be singing and traditional dance performances by professionals and children who are learning. Professional dance instructor Ranjani Saigal, who runs a dance studio out of Burlington, will be teaching basic Bollywood steps which is already a popular attraction according to IAB Treasurer Indra Deb.
“It’s filling up fast, we have a lot of people interested especially the Selectmen”
Deb is also reaching out for supporters of the celebration.
“We are looking for sponsors,” said Deb.
$250 gets your logo on the Diwali banner and for $500 sponsors can have a table at the event. Bhammar noted that they are always looking for volunteers and the event is open to absolutely everyone.
“You don’t have to be of Indian origin to come celebrate, we welcome everyone, we want everyone to come. If you’re a Burlington resident, not a Burlingot resident, or if you’re just passing by,” Bhammar said.
The IAB 2021 Diwali festival of light will close with a tree lighting on the Town Common and traditional lanterns. The organizers are encouraging attendees to wear masks and be vigilant of social distancing. Visit the Indian Americans for Burlington Facebook page and Click Here to be part and volunteer.