IndiaFest returns to Port Washington

IndiaFest returns to Port Washington
Performers at last year's IndiaFest. (Courtesy of Gunjan Rastogi)

Twenty-eight years later, IndiaFest is returning to the place where it all began.

The festival celebrating Indian art, food and culture is returning to North Hempstead Beach Park on Sunday, Sept. 23 — the place where the very first IndiaFest was held in 1990.

“We love that place,” said Gunjan Rastogi, the president of the Indian Association of Long Island, which plans the event. “The beach is very beautiful and the Town of North Hempstead has been extremely helpful. They’ve really gone out of their way to help us with the paperwork and everything.”

The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Parking and admission are free. There will be about 36 vendors selling Indian arts and crafts, clothing, and jewelry. There will be Indian foods and various music and dance performances. For children, there will be face painting and crafts.

The event has been held in different places on Long Island over the years and attracts visitors from as far away as New Jersey and Westchester. Due to weather, the last few IndiaFests have been held indoors. Rastogi said that this year’s festival is the first being held outdoors in a decade.

“The feel when you’re outdoors is totally different; it is a much more fun setting,” she said.

With the event headed back out into the sun, Rastogi noted some of the events that could only be held outdoors.

“We are trying to do yoga on the beach because now everyone wants to do that,” she said. “Parents can bring their children and do some kite flying on the beach as well.”

Rastogi said the festival began in 1990 as a way to inform Americans about the growing Indian population in the United States through exposure to food and culture from India.

Today, people in the United States know Bollywood and tandoori chicken,” she said. “It’s different now, the distance has shortened between the two countries due to technology. But it’s fun to hold this festival.”

Reach reporter Luke Torrance by email at [email protected], by phone at 516-307-1045, ext. 214, or follow him on Twitter @LukeATorrance

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