The 2014 Deepavali Fair was held on Sunday, 19th October 2014 at Parramatta Park,Parramatta. Organised by the Hindu Council of Australia, an umbrella body for Hindus in Australia, it proved to be a larger event than previous years and a resounding success. It remains a highlight of the Indian Community calendar and is the largest gathering of people from Indian sub-continent in Sydney.
This year’s HCA Deepavali Fair showcased the best of Sydney’s Hindu and Indian community. The organisations’ aims and objectives as always were to represent Hindus settled in Australia from different countries of the world like Nepal, India, Fiji, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh and many other nations at the festival. A Record turnout of more than 25000 audiences at the event reaffirmed our impulse for celebrating magnificent Deepavali, our culture and traditions.
This year the event was a free event for the first time to encourage participation from all.
The Fair started from 11.30 am with an inflow of people from all walks and locations in Sydney. The cultural program showcased the diverse talents of the Sydney Indian community with live keertan, children’s performances, Ramleela, classical folk dances and Bollywood performances. Some magnificent singing performances started from 3 pm and were followed by MaaChandi path that engaged the DurgaMaa devotees very well.
Some more classical and Bollywood dances set the mood even better and were followed by the very entertaining Chinese Lion dance. The Deepavali theme based fashion show was next when the HCA volunteers walked on ramp showcasing the best traditional Indian costumes. Next were some fusion dance performances setting the stage up for VIPs to address.
Amongst the distinguished guests wereConsulate General of India SunjaySudhir, Senator Hon ConcettaFierevanti-Wells representing the Prime minister, Senator Hon Lisa Singh representing the Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Hon Geoff Lee representing the State Premier and Hon John Robertson the NSW Opposition Leader.
The highlight of the session was the distinctive speech of Shri Ram Madhav representing the PM of India who energised and motivated all Indians present at the park. Shri Madhav also summoned the public to take part and attend the coming up PM Modiji’s visit event in Sydney. Other eminent guests attending the event were Hon Michelle Rowland, Lord Mayor Hon Scott Lloyd, Hon Phillip Ruddock, Hon David Elliot, Senator Sam Dastyari, Hon Craig Laundy, Mr David Ossip (NGR Committee), Mr Jeremy Spinak (President NSW Jewish Board),
The highlights of the day were ICC World Cup trophy and photo booth sponsored and organised by MoneyGram, kabaddi tournament run by Dashmesh Sports kabaddi club, Rangoli competition in the middle of the venue conducted by KulwinderKaur and sponsored by Bank of Baroda, photo boothfor guests, traditional and Indian costumes shot by Rajesh photography, Trivia and games for everyone at the Fair and a magnificent Raffle draw with more than 8 prizes.
The ICC world Cup trophy gained attention of nearly 60 percent of the crowd and people lined up for hours to take a photo with the trophy.
The last and most power-packed segment of the day was the 5th Western Union dance competition which over the years, has attracted Sydney’s most talented dance groups and has been one of the key events of the festival.
There were ten teams competing to win the coveted title and the very generous cash prizes sponsored by Western Union were $1000 , $750 and $250 with winners as Ministry of Bhangra and Bollywood Jammers as first runner up.
The SBS van at the fair was another attraction that showcased some of the performances of the day to another range of audience at the van and also gave away prizes and gifts all through the day via quizzes and exciting bollywood trivia.
The HCA stall with their enterprising giveaway of Indian goodies and the very virtuous HCA souvenir gained a lot of attention on the day.The exciting rides, play areas for children, food stalls and many other exciting stalls were the essence of the fun everyone had during the day.
At the end of the day the unique feature the fair for last 16 years 40 feet high Raavan effigy was burnt filled with crackers, symbolising the victory of good over evil. For all of us it brought back memories of traditional celebrations of Dussehra. The excellent fireworks of the fair were an added attraction for celebrating Deepavali with the same spirits as it is celebrated back in India.
The festival entailed nearly 100 volunteers, 200 stakeholders in form of stalls and the Hindu Council committee.Many other businesses, community members and organisations were actively involved in the organisation of the festivals and their contribution made the event a huge success.