Indian culture- Westchester festival
Indian culture takes center stage at Westchester festival
VALHALLA - The sights, melodies and aromas of Indian culture swept through the Kensico Dam Plaza today as Westchester County held its ninth annual Heritage of India Festival.
"This is my first time coming here," said Michael Weiner of White Plains. "I briefly lived with an Indian family when I visited Israel many years ago, and all those good experiences are coming back to me again."
The ninth annual event, co-sponsored by the county and the Indian American Cultural Association of Westchester, featured exotic clothing, crafts and food from India as well as fashion shows and dancing on the main stage. Around 8,000 to 10,000 people were expected to come to the all-day festival.
"The county organizes many different ethnic festivals throughout the summer and ours tends to be the largest," said Hitesh Patel, the festival's chairman.
Mamaroneck resident Sid Heckel said he goes to many of the county's ethnic festivals and said the Indian one is his favorite.
"Indian culture is a very fine culture," Heckel said. "It's so sophisticated, intricate and beautiful. There are a lot of great photographic opportunities."
Heckel, who enjoys photography as a hobby, stood under a tent jam packed with attendees as the crowd watched bhangra dancing on the main stage. The style of dancing is one of India's most prominent, originating from the Punjab region in the north. Though the dance has traditional folk roots, bhangra's heavily percussive rhythms and full-body motions have influenced several music genres across the world including hip-hop.
"The music and dancing is what I'm enjoying," said Weiner's wife, Amy. "It's really colorful."