BY MEGHANA NAIK (Citizen Journalist*)
Photos by Arvind Shukla @PhotoByArvind
Atlanta, GA, November 13, 2023: The Indian community of Atlanta has a long tradition of celebrating culture through active involvement and valuable contributions. Diwali is an inclusive opportunity to bring not only Indians but all Americans together to celebrate the Festival of Lights, which signifies the triumph of good over evil.
That’s exactly what the City of John’s Creek achieved through a spectacular celebration spearheaded by Johns Creek Planning Council member, Himanshu Karnwal, at the fields across the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek on Nov 4th, 2023.
There were over 20,000 people in total celebrating together, with tons of unique experiences, promoting genuine smiles, hearty laughter and applause from the audience watching the cultural show and drones display. The event was attended by the John’s Creek City Mayor John Bradberry and city officials.
This inclusive event was planned by Karnwal, Stacey Hudek Gross, and team as an entire festival themed day-long event celebrating local art, culture, trades, crafts, Indian cuisine, and local talent of various age groups, and various forms of entertainment.
There were several cultural performances with dances ranging from retro Indian medleys to more traditional dances from local dance schools, amazing food and clothing selections from vendor stalls, colorful decor that celebrates the Indian heritage.
What stood out as the highlight of the event was the spectacular eco-friendly drone show. This flawless and seamless blending of traditional music and colorful traditional symbols honoring the festival of Diwali featured 100 drones.
Speaking to NRI Pulse, Himanshu Karnwal said the city of Johns Creek gave him full support on how he wanted to orchestrate the event. “My goal was to have a unique but safe celebration for the community while indulging in a variety of cultural experiences through a wonderful blend of talented performers on stage and a cultural food festival. The drone show was a unique angle that I wanted to add, which has received a lot of positive words from the community. I couldn’t have carried out this special event without the wholehearted support from the City of John’s Creek. We wanted to support local businesses who set up their booths with clothing designs and delicious cuisine”. A wonderful opportunity for local performers to create a unique, cultural experience on the occasion of Diwali.
One of the kiosks on-site was by Veena Katdare, President of the Vishva Hindu Parishad, Atlanta chapter (VHPA) who said, “We had a positive experience interacting with the community, raising awareness for kids, teens and any individual who wanted to learn more about the culture, dharma, and history of Diwali. We had themed temporary tattoos and info sessions which really got the younger generation excited to learn more. Our goal was to raise awareness about Diwali amongst Indians and non-Indians, whoever was curious about the Festival of Lights. We had a wonderful experience with the organizers and will be back next year.”
City of John’s Creek had immense success in bringing together a community that celebrates diversity and inclusion, where everyone present at the festival felt welcomed, accepted, and deeply respected. I’ve been to countless events in the community, and this was a class apart. Really impressive, including the massive safety and security measures with parking, with John’s Creek police guiding everyone, and JCFD on watch.
Kudos to Himanshu Karnwal, Stacey Hudek Gross, and their team who spearheaded this event on behalf of the City of John’s Creek. We are so proud of our Indian community here in John’s Creek, for showing up in the thousands.
Generous sponsors like Macy’s, Macy’s Technology, Macy’s Systems And Technology, and Suvidha Indo-Pak Groceries helped bring the Atlanta Indian community together to celebrate John’s Creek Diwali Festival. The event was supported by Johns Creek Parks and Recreation.
The City of John’s Creek raised the bar high for themselves for next year, with people going home happy to have celebrated Diwali as one community. If you weren’t there, It’s a celebration not to be missed next time, which made attendees, both Indian and non-Indian, feel connected through their values and unique experiences.
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