MARCH 2020
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida


NAPLES/BONITA SPRINGS: Organized by India Association of Naples, the annual India Fest will be held from 2 to 7 p.m. March 8 at Cambier Park, 755 Eighth Ave. S., Naples. Unlike previous years, admission is free. Inaugurating the festival will be Miss Florida USA Monique Evans; Naples Mayor Bill Barnett will be the chief guest. For details, email [email protected] or visit

MELBOURNE: Manav Mandir will present its 24th annual Indiafest 2020 on Saturday, March 14, and Sunday, March 15, at Wickham Park, 2500 Parkway Drive, Melbourne. There will be cultural and fashion shows, henna, arts and crafts, Indian cooking demo, food, raffle drawings, etc. The theme is “Royal West India” to be highlighted at the Discover India booth. Timings are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children ages 12 and under and kids younger than 5 years are free.

This year, the festival will support the Puerto Rico Disaster Relief fund to assist residents recovering from the recent earthquake, as well as start an Emergency Student Loan Program at Florida Institute of Technology for students facing financial hardship. Past beneficiaries include Haiti earthquake, various Florida hurricane relief efforts, Early Intervention, Daily Bread, Serene Harbor, Crosswinds, Cancer Care Center, Sentinels of Freedom - Veterans Re-Training Program, Children’s Hunger Project, Promise in Brevard, Candlelighters of Brevard and the Brevard School Foundation.

For information, call Yasmin Majeed at (321) 720-8590, e-mail [email protected] or visit

GAINESVILLE: The India Cultural & Education Center will hold its annual India Fest & Health Fair on Saturday, March 14, in Gainesville. The festival will be 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Bo Diddley Plaza, 111 E. University Ave., Gainesville. This year’s theme is “Threads of India.” There will be Indian food, dance, art, music, jewelry, clothing, henna. For information, visit or e-mail [email protected]

WEST PALM BEACH: Presented by Bangladesh Association of Florida, the 27th Asian Trade, Food Fair and Cultural Show will be on March 14-15. On both days, the event is set from noon to 10 p.m. at South Florida Fairgrounds (Expo Center), 9067 Southern Blvd., West Palm Beach.Tickets are $12 per person. For information, call (561) 876-2255 or visit

FORT MYERS/ESTERO: The India Association of Fort Myers (IAFM) will hold its 33nd annual India Fest on Saturday, March 28, at Estero Recreation Center, 9200 Corkscrew Road, in Estero. The 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. event will feature Indian food, dance, henna, music, handicrafts and clothing. More specifically, there will be live entertainment on the outdoor stage throughout the day, including modern and classical dances, and fashion shows. For information, call (239) 994 0547, email [email protected] or visit



MARCH 8: HOLI; organized by Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. 301 N., Tampa; free for members; non-members $20/person; fee includes snacks and lunch; music by DJ Pram; natural colors available for purchase; nominal parking fee; for information, call Keval Brahmbhatt at (813) 494-2700 or Mukesh Patel at (727) 505-4636.

MARCH 8: HOLI 2020 FAMILY PICNIC; organized by Indo American Foundation of Tampa Bay; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Lake Park ‘Eagle Shelter #3,’ 17302 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Lutz; Indian food, fun games, music, and colors are provided; adults $10 per person, kids $5 ages 6-12, kids are free ages 5 and under; must purchase tickets in advance at

MARCH 8: Satyanarayan Vrat Katha & Holika Dahan; Shree Raam Mandir, 7411 E. Comanche Ave., Tampa; 5 p.m.; for more information, call Nick at (813) 334-0443 or Angela at (813) 265-3268.

MARCH 8: HOLI POORNIMA; 4 to 7 p.m.; Sanatan Mandir, 311 E. Palm Ave., Tampa; for information, call (813) 221-4482.

MARCH 7: HOLI CELEBRATION; organized by Maayboli Melawa Tampa Bay (MMTB); 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Lettuce Lake Park, shelters 2 and 3, 6920 E. Fletcher Ave., Tampa; free for MMTB members, non-members pay $20 per adult and $10 per child above 8 years, includes lunch and snacks; for details, call Ram Padte at (813) 770-4854.

MARCH 9: HOLI; 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. celebration, Holi Ka Daha at 6:45 p.m., and mahaprasad after aarti; Ambaji Mandir, 10991 58th St., Pinellas Park; call the mandir at (727) 388-6685 or visit

MARCH 9: HOLI; 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. celebration, Holi Ka Daha at 6:45 p.m., and mahaprasad after aarti; Laxmi Narayan Mandir, 4615 George Road, Tampa; for information, call (813) 444-9786.

MARCH 8: RAJASTHANI GROUP HOLI PICNIC; for venue and other details, call Rashmi Jakhotia at (813) 962-4172.


MARCH 14: DHULETI CELEBRATIONS; organized by Gujarati Society of Central Florida; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Turkey Lake Park, 3401 S. Hiawassee Road, Orlando; free for society members; $35 for non-members; for information, call (321) 689-4075, email [email protected] or visit

MARCH 9: HOLI PUJA; Shree Laxminarayan Mandir, 5020 W. South St., Orlando; 7 p.m. to 1 p.m.; free admission; bring thali and coconut; dinner will be served; for information, call (321) 689-4075.

March 14: HOLI 2020; organized by Indian Horizon of Florida and Lotus Insurance Group; Turkey Lake Park, 3401 S. Hiawassee Road, Orlando; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; free; $10 parking; for information, call Hari Singh at (321) 662-1887.


MARCH 7: COLORFEST 2020 FEATURING RED BARAAT; organized by Anaak Events and Productions and South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center; 10950 S.W. 211 St., Cutler Bay; 2 p.m.; $25 for adult in advance, $30 at gate; $10 in advance for youth, $15 at gate; for information, call (305) 509-4070 or visit to purchase tickets.

MARCH 8: HOLI DHAMAAL; organized by Palm Beach India Association; for time, venue and other details, email [email protected] or visit

MARCH 15: HOLI CELEBRATION; organized by Indian Religious and Cultural Center (IRCC); C.B. Smith Park-Shelter No. 19, 900 N. Flamingo Road, Pembroke Pines; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; for details, call Durgesh Thaker at (954) 554-8739 or visit


MARCH 14: HOLI FESTIVAL; presented by Indian Cultural Society of Jacksonville and Hindu Society of North East Florida; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; free to public; Hindu Temple of Jacksonville, 4968 Greenland Road; for information, visit


MARCH 9: HOLI RANG UTSAV; Shree Swaminarayan Hindu Temple (ISSO), 2793 New Tampa Highway, Lakeland; 5 to 7 p.m.; for information, call (863) 529-1146 or visit

MARCH 9: HOLI PRAGATYA; Anoopam Mission, 4685 U.S. 98 S., Lakeland; 6 p.m.; for information, call (863) 205-5929 or visit

MARCH 9: HOLI; organized by the Bhartiya Samaj of Central Florida; 6 p.m.; $25; Carver Center, 520 Idlewood Ave. S., Bartow; for details, call Vinoobhai Patel at (863) 293-0942 or visit


MARCH 8: HOLI; organized by the India Association of the Space Coast (IASC); F. Burton Smith Regional Park, 7575 W. Highway 520, Cocoa; for timing, cost and other information, call (321) 271-7072, email [email protected]


MARCH 15: HOLI; organized by India Association of Naples; Vineyards Community Park, Pavilion#1, 6231 Arbor Blvd., W. Naples; 2 to 5 p.m.; Holi colors, snacks and drinks will be provided by association; free for members, $10 non-members; for information, email [email protected]

Disclaimer: Event details are subject to change. Please check with local organizers.


North South Foundation ( will be holding its educational contests in Orlando, Fort Lauderdale (Weston), Tampa and Jacksonville in April. Taking place in the United States since 1993, the contests are designed to encourage academic excellence among Indian American students and prepare them for college.

The contests are grouped into Junior, Intermediate or Senior levels for children from first- through 12th grade. Conducted every year in two steps, children participate in Regional Contests at various locations throughout the country. Then students with high scores, based on a cut-off, advance to the National Finals.

Spelling, essay, math, vocabulary, geography and public speaking contests are offered. Registration details are available on the web site.

ORLANDO: Registration closes on March 21 for the Orlando contests, which will be held April 4 at University of Central Florida, 4000 Central Florida Blvd. For information, call Ramya Nagraj at (207) 409-2650 or email [email protected]

FORT LAUDERDALE/WESTON: The Fort Lauderdale contests will be held April 4-5 at The Sagemont Upper School, 2585 Glades Circle, Weston (registration closes March 21-22). For information, call Anbuselvan Kuppusamy at (954) 236-2552 or email [email protected]

TAMPA BAY: Registration will close on March 21-22 for the Tampa contests, which will be April 4-5, at Cooper Hall, 2nd floor, University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Ave. The contests are sponsored by Gurukulam of Tampa Bay Sunday School. For information, call Ramesh Vasudevan at (813) 701-7870 or email e-mail [email protected]

JACKSONVILLE: Registration closes on April 11-12 for the Jacksonville contests, which will be April 25-26, at University of North Florida, 1 UNF Drive. For more information, call Rajiv Gupta at (904) 349-3179 or e-mail [email protected]

For details, visit

Aaishwariya Gulani of FLORIDA wins Miss India USA title

Aaishwariya A. Gulani of Jacksonville was crowned Miss India USA 2019-20 at the 38th pageant in January organized in Houston, Texas. Riya Kaur of New York was first runner up and Alka Marala of Connecticut emerged as second runner up.

Gulani, 23, earned a bachelor's degree in Economics, Health Care Management and Finance from the University of Pennsylvania in 2018. She is in medical school at the University of Central Florida. She complements her artistic talents with academic laurels. Dancing since she was 6 years old, she received the “Best Talent” honor for her Bharat Natyam performance and was also awarded “Beautiful Eyes” at the pageant.

Bollywood actors Monica Gill and Samir Soni were among the national judges along with Tanishq Sharma (Miss India Worldwide 2019 from Oman) and Shree Saini (Miss India Worldwide 2018) who said, "As a pageant judge, it’s our job to pick a role model and a leader within the surrounding community for the upcoming year.”

Miss India USA is a beauty contest for young women of Indian descent who are residents of the United States. The three-day pageant, established by India Festival Committee headed by Dharmatma Saran and Neelam Saran in 1980, is the longest running Indian pageant outside of India. The winner of the Miss India USA pageant goes on to represent the United States at the Miss India Worldwide pageant. The pageant has been previously held in Los Angeles, Dallas, San Jose, New Jersey and New York City.

Gulani will proceed to represent the United States at the Miss India Worldwide 2020 pageant in Mumbai in October.

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