HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The North Alabama Indian community's biggest event is returning to Huntsville. This year, the India Festival is billed as A Ray of Hope Event 2019. It is raising money for AshaKiran, a group that helps foreign-born individuals experiencing crises in Alabama to overcome barriers such as language, cultural or religious stigmas.
The India Festival is Saturday, August 31 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Von Braun Center North Hall. Tickets cost $5 and you can buy them here.
They expect around 4,000 at this year's event. The sponsors-only banquet is from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., which will feature an opening ceremony, dignitaries, and cultural programs including Bhangra by a college team. The keynote speaker is Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi.
From 1-6 p.m., attendees can enjoy Indian cuisine, buy Indian clothing and jewelry, and Mehendi, a temporary skin decoration. There will also be free entertainment by local and out of town dancers in classical, folk, and Bollywood style. Audience members will be invited on stage to learn dance moves.
The event also features a fashion show featuring Indian weddings, yoga and meditation seminars, and an educational gallery about India. There also will be free games, kids crafts, and activities including pictures in front of the Taj Mahal.
Organizers say this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the kin of the "Father of the Nation, India’s gift to the world” and to hear his personal narrative. Arun Gandhi founded the MK Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence in 1987 after a 30-year journalism career at the Times of India and has authored many inspirational books including "Be the Change" and "The Gift of Anger."
This is this year’s fundraising event for AshaKiran- A Ray of Hope Event 2019, a non-profit organization in the area since 2006, that provides free culturally competent’ services in 49+ languages throughout the state of Alabama to individuals from multicultural backgrounds that are experiencing traumatic/stressful situations such as domestic violence, sexual assault, depression, violence/crisis of any kind, or developmental disabilities.