Bhubaneswar: Members of the Odia Community in Bay Area and FOG Odisha, the Odisha wing of Festival of Globe (FOG) and Federation of Indo Americans (FIA) of Northern California, participated in the 73rd India Independence Day event by FIA. This festival included key states like Kashmir, Bengal, Telugu, Gujarat, Tamil, Rajasthan, and many others.
Odisha Float has been the pride of the Odia community in the Bay Area and one of the best floats since 1999. There was a gap for two-three years but revived again due to persistent requests by the organizer. In the last few years, a few members of the Odia community, passionate about the cause, have been participating in this project. Every year a unique theme and concept has been presented to showcase the rich cultural heritage of Odisha. Through our floats, we share valuable history, heritage and culture of Odisha with the larger audience.
This year due to security concerns, the parade was replaced with stage presentations by various states. Odisha beautifully showcased Kalinga War and the transformation of Chanda Ashoka to Dharma Ashoka and how he spread Buddhism across the world from Dhauli, Odisha -the Paradise of Peace. With a team of volunteers who worked hard for over two long weeks to create the Shanti stupa sets which involved intrinsic art and painting work and actors identified to present the skit, FOG Odisha team and Odia Community Members were involved in script writing, music and role-plays. After the amazing presentation the audience wanted to know where Dhauli is and how they can visit Odisha. Indirectly through these floats we create potential interest and tours to Odisha.
Of course icing on the cake was photo ops with Bollywood star Vivek Oberoi. Team and beyond got opportunities to take selfies and groups pics with Vivek Oberoi.
Very thankful for the wonderful team effort by the following. Team said this was the best ever team experience in planning and execution.
Skit Director – Priyadarshy Dash,
Narrator – Reena,
Buddhist Monk – Priyadarshy bhai
Ashoka – Mahesh,
Devi – Japani ,
Odissi Dancers – Pratibha & Sarjita,
Kalinga soldiers – Debashis Patnala, Lal Mohan, Sasrika, Yasasvi,
Children of Ashoka – Nithi, Shubham,
Overall coordination – Mahesh, Debashis,
Artistic Sets Design – Pratibha,
Painting – Japani, Lal, Pratibha, Sarjita, Sangita,
Logistics – Bhabani, Debasish, Mahesh,
Event day sets support – Debasish, Lal, Mahesh, Pradeep, Sasmita, Vinutha,
Food – Sasmita & Sasrili,
Youngest cutest volunteer – Yashvi,
Venue/Food during prep – Mahesh-Reena’s Home,
Supported and cheered by several other community members.