For the second year in a row, the Holi Fest celebrated the festival of Colours in its grandeur in Wyndham. This year, the event was celebrated under the name of Saavn Festival of Colours and hosted on 19 March at the Werribee Race Course, with 10,000 people attending to celebrate India’s traditional festival. “Yet another year of grand celebrations,” quipped Hari Yellina of Festival of South Asia Inc soon after completion of another successful Holi celebrations.
“FOSAI has popularised this traditional spring festival in the area. It has become a landmark event with thousands attending each year. We have made it compelling for everyone in the area to attend our event. No one can miss our event because of its popularity,” beamed a very happy Yellina.
State MP for Gellibrand Tim Watts shared the stage with noted marathoner Samantha Gash to launch Run India to raise money for World Vision Australia’s education programme in India. “It’s going to be an incredible effort for a great cause so back her if you can,” posted Watts on Facebook soon after the announcement on stage. Samantha Gash was greeted by community leaders, friends and FOSAI members to wish her luck before the marathon begins in September this year.
FOSAI’s first event of 2016 was remarkably large considering there were five other Holi events across Melbourne over the weekend. “We are the largest Holi celebrations in the country and it will remain so,” reiterated Yellina after FOSAI’s event on 19 March pulled in large crowds. “We beat all odds to pull in crowds,” Yellina, Secretary of FOSAI, told The Indian Sun.
“Last year we had record-breaking crowds thronging the Holi festival. This year, despite cold weather, multiple events over the weekend, we had a huge crowd. Our crowd come for quality. They know where to come for quality events in Victoria,” added Yellina.
“We focus on quality and quality comes at a small cost sometimes,” said Yellina. FOSAI’s Holi Fest relies mainly on private sponsorship and government grants, but the event charges $5 per adult entry to manage the event. However, entry is free for senior citizens and children under 12. The event is immensely popular with young families in the area. Students and young professionals also throng to the event each year and their numbers are growing.
The event in 2016 was sponsored by Saavn, a premium Bollywood music streaming company from India, Diamond Rise, a property developer popular in Victoria and River Walk, a development close to Werribee. “Our sponsors have done a tremendous job by working along with community organisations and the ethnic media to promote multiculturalism in Australia. I thank our sponsors, and supporters for making our event the grandest, biggest and the most colourful and vibrant,” said Yellina.
FOSAI has announced its next event for the year — India Day. And you can expect another explosive celebration.