Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida


By NITISH S. RELE, [email protected]

IndiaFestBreathe the fragrance of India on Nov. 3 as you stroll through about 190 booths offering clothes, jewelry, film DVDs and music CDs, arts and crafts, photo studio and home décor at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. And for the first time in the festival’s 31-year history, food vendors selling delicacies such as samosas, bhel puri, chicken curry and dosas will be set up in a tent just outside the Expo Hall.

In the entertainment area, performers will be adorned in colorful attire for four categories of dance competition – garba, raas, folk and bhangra. Several closed-circuit TV monitors will be set up so people can shop and watch the dances. There are nearly 70 entries.


Chair Mina C.J. Patel 

“We expect about 12,000 people to attend the annual India Festival,” said Chair Mina C.J. Patel. “This year, we are promoting the festival on three billboards: one at Busch Boulevard and Interstate 275, another on Interstate 4 by an exit, and a third on the busy and highly visible Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa. These are all firsts for the event. We are also proud to have more non-Indian vendors sign up.” Like last year, presenting sponsor Reeves BMW will offer BMW test drives on the grounds.

Indian-American communities in such far places as Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Melbourne, Daytona Beach, Jacksonville, Gainesville and Ocala among others will be participating in dozens of competitions. And several local dignitaries and city/county officials will be gracing the celebrations, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

India Festival will be from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. 301 N., Tampa. Tickets are $10 for adults; $7 for children 10 and younger. For information, call Chair Mina C.J. Patel at (813) 842-1647 or visit www.indiafestivaltampa.com



Here are a few communities that are celebrating Diwali in October and first weekend in November:


Rajasthani Association of Tampa Bay will hold its Diwali celebration on Oct. 26. For details, call Rahul Maheshwari at (813) 374-7583 or Rashmi Jakhotia at (813) 962-4172.


Indian Student Association at University of Florida will hold its Diwali show on Friday, Oct. 26, at Curtis M. Phillips Center, 3201 Hull Road, Gainesville. Doors open at 6:30 and entertainment is from 7 to 9:30 p.m. For information, call Saloni Patel at (321) 432-2663 or email [email protected]


The Indian Association of the Space Coast will hold Diwali and annual dinner from 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at Melbourne Auditorium, 625 E. Hibiscus Blvd. For more information, call (321) 271-7072 or visit www.iascbrevard.com


Gujarati Samaj of North East Florida will celebrate Diwali on Saturday, Oct. 27, at Morocco Shine Center Auditorium, 3800 St. Johns Bluff Road S., Jacksonville. Doors open at 3:30 with entertainment at 5 followed by dinner and dancing. For tickets and other information, email [email protected] or visit www.gsnef.org

Also, Indian Cultural Society of Jacksonville will hold its Diwali party on Nov. 3 at Morocco Shine Center Auditorium, 3800 St. Johns Bluff Road S. There will be food, dance and music. For tickets and more information, text (904) 260-1273, email [email protected] or visit www.jaxics.org


The India US Chamber of Commerce South Florida will celebrate the Festival of Lights at its annual gala from 7 p.m. Oct. 20 at The Coral Gables Country Club, 997 N. Greenway Drive. Member tickets are $200 and non-members pay $225. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.indousasfl.com

Here are the Florida communities celebrating the festival of nine nights:


The Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay will celebrate Navratri from 8 p.m. on Oct. 12-13 and Oct. 19-20 at Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. Highway 301 N. The event is free to GSTB members. There is a nominal parking fee. The Samaj and India Cultural Center will hold Kids Garba (for families with kids age 11 and younger) from 3 to 6 p.m. Oct 14 at India Cultural Center, 5511 Lynn Road. For information, call Manish Patel at (813) 270-9896, Ravi Patel (727) 692-6399 or visit www.gujaratisamaj.org

Sanatan Mandir at 311 E. Palm Ave., Tampa, will celebrate Navratri from Oct. 9 with Durga Puja and aarti at 7 p.m. Ram Leela and Ravan Dahan will be Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. on Oct. 20. For details, call the temple at (813) 221-4482, email [email protected] or visit www.sanatanmandirtampa.org

Ambaji Mandir at 10991 58th St., in Pinellas Park, will celebrate Navratri with daily garba at 7:15 p.m. from Oct. 10 onward. For more information, call the Mandir at (727) 388-6685 or visit www.ambajimandir.org

Sri Laxmi Narayan Mandir will hold Navratri celebrations daily from Oct. 10 with garba at 7:15 p.m. Sri Laxmi Narayan Mandir is at 4615 George Road, Tampa. For information, call the temple at (813) 444-9786.

SOIKOT (Bengali Association of Greater Tampa Bay) will hold Durga Puja from Oct. 19-21 at India Cultural Center, 5511 Lynn Road, Tampa. For details, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.soikot.org

Telangana Association of Florida, Tampa Bay, will hold Bathukamma (annual flower festival and Dussehra celebrations) from 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 13 Florida State Fairgrounds (Florida Center & Botanical Gardens Hall), 4800 U.S. 301 N., Tampa. Entry is $5 per adult; kids are free. For information, call (727) 403-5804.

Shirdi Sai Entertainment will present Falguni Pathak Dandiya Live at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27 at Tampa Convention Center, 333 S. Franklin St. Tickets are $30 advance or $35 at door. To purchase, visit www.sulekha.com


FORT LAUDERDALE: The Indian Regional & Cultural Center (IRCC) will celebrate Navratri from 8 p.m. on Oct. 6 (live band) and Oct. 13 at Silver Trail Middle School, 18300 Sheridan St., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets can be purchased at www.irccflorida.com or at the gate. For information, email [email protected] or visit www.irccflorida.com

WEST PALM BEACH: Palm Beach India Association will celebrate Navratri/Garba Oct. 5-6 (Kanodia Group) and Oct. 12-13 (Surbahaar Group) at Forest Hill Community High School, 6901 Parker Ave., West Palm Beach. For ticket details, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.gopbia.com


The Gujarati Society of Central Florida will hold Navratri Garba from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Oct. 12-13 and Oct. 19-20 at Lyman High School, 865 S. Ronald Reagan Blvd., Longwood. It is free for members, $25 for non-members and $15 for students with ID. For information, call (407) 948-4041 or visit www.gujaratisocietycfl.com

Hindu Society of Central Florida (HSCF) temple will hold live music, raas and garba by Rawal Brothers daily (8 p.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays, 8 pm. to midnight weekend) from Oct. 10-18 in the community hall, 1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry. Single day pass is $15 per person and $100 for family for nine nights. Dussehra celebration will be from 5 p.m. on Oct. 18. For more information, call Mahendra Kapadia at (407) 595-9224 or visit www.hindutempleorlando.org

Shirdi Sai Entertainment will present Atul Purohit Navratri Mahotsav at 7:30 p.m. at Central Florida Fair, 4603 W. Colonial Drive, Orlando. Tickets are $30 advance or $35 at door. For tickets, visit www.sulekha.com


The Bhartiya Samaj of Central Florida will celebrate Navratri at 9 p.m. Oct. 12-13, Oct. 19-20 and Oct. 26-27 at Bartow Civic Center, 2250 S. Floral Ave., Bartow. Sharad Purnima Navratri will be from noon Oct. 28 at Mary Holland Park, North Broadway Ave., Bartow. For more information, call Subhash S. Patel at (863) 648-0294, Vinoobhai Patel at (863) 293-0942 or visit www.bscfl.com


The Gujarati Association of Manasota will hold Navratri from 8.30 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Oct. 12-13, and Oct. 19-20 at Sarasota Middle School, 4826 Ashton Road. It is free for paid 2018 members; non-members are $20 per person. For information, call Bhumin Patel at (941) 773-4460 or visit www.gujaratiassociationofmanasota.com


The India Association Cultural & Educational Center, 2030 N.E. 36th Ave., Ocala, will hold Navratri from 8 p.m. on Oct. 5-6 and Oct. 12-13. For details, e-mail [email protected]


Gujarati Samaj of Southwest Florida will hold Navratri from 8 p.m. on Oct. 5-6 and Oct. 12-13 at Paul Lawrence Dunbar Middle School, 4750 Winkler Ave., Fort Myers. For information, call (239) 770-2918 or email [email protected]


The Gujarati Samaj of North East Florida will celebrate Raas-Garba from 8 p.m. to midnight Oct. 12-13 and Oct. 19-20 at Jacksonville Ice & Sportsplex, 3605 Phillips Highway. For more information, visit gsnef.org


The Indian Association of the Space Coast will hold Navratri celebrations from 8 p.m. to midnight on Oct. 6 and Oct. 13 at Viera High School, 6103 Stadium Parkway, Viera. For more information, call (321) 271-7072, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.iascbrevard.com

Also, Manav Mandir temple, 7400 Waelti Drive, Melbourne, will begin Navratri, Garba at 7 p.m. Oct. 10. Dussehra will be celebrated from 7 p.m. on Oct. 18. For information, call (321) 426-0688 or visit www.mmbrevard.org

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