After a three-year absence, with the event going virtual last year due to the pandemic and moving to City Hall Plaza for two years in both 2018 and 2019, respectively, the India Association of Greater Boston’s long-running India Day Festival is returning to the DCR Hatch Memorial Shell on the Esplanade on Sunday, Aug. 15, from 3 to 7 p.m.
The India Association of Greater Boston (IAGB) was started as a socio-cultural organization with the goal of bringing the area’s Indian community together in 1962 and held its first India Day Festival soon afterwards. And from the 1980s until 2017, the event was held on the Esplanade, said Sanjay Gowda, IAGB President
The festival always takes on a weekend around India Independence Day, which commemorates the country’s independence from the United Kingdom on Aug. 15, 1947, said Gowda, and attendance in recent years has ranged from 8,000 to 15,000, depending on the weather, among other factors.
When the festival took place virtually last year, it afforded the IAGB the opportunity to stage a bigger event, said Gowda, that included a concert with “high-quality performers.”
This year, the festival will have three parts, said Gowda, including first, the “cultural performance or entertainment program.”
For the second part, vendors from all over New England, he said, will be selling their wares, including Indian crafts, jewelry, and clothing on site.
Third, the Food Mela, added Gowda, will features booths from five area restaurants serving up cuisine from all over India.
“This is a free event, open to all, and a celebration of the largest democracy in the land of the oldest in the land of democracy,” he said, “as well as a celebration of democracy, a celebration of unity, and a celebration of the Indian American community.”
Michael Nichols executive director of the Esplanade Association, said his group is thrilled to see India Day Festival making its return to the park this summer.
“We love having the park serve as a venue for all manner of musical and cultural programming,” said Nichols, “and it’s great to see the India Day Festival back on the Esplanade.”
Likewise, Gowda is pleased to see the event again returning to the Esplanade.
“The Esplanade is a beautiful, iconic place, and the India Association of Greater Boston is proud to celebrate India Day every year for several decades,” said Gowda. “It attracts everyone and is the perfect spot for the entire family to enjoy the events at the Hatch Shell and other activities along the river.”
Visit iagb.org for more information on India Day Festival, or iagb.org/sponsorship/ for sponsorship opportunities.