37,000 Attend IBA’s India Day Parade
Guadagno, Buono, Booker, Pallone, Holt, & Oliver Headline Parade
Edison, NJ – Beginning in Edison and ending in Iselin, New Jersey, the Indian Business Association (“IBA”), a non-profit organization, organized its 9th annual India Day Parade. Initial estimates place the attending crowd at well over 37,000 people. “We are one community and we celebrated with one large parade” said Kapil Shah, President of IBA.
Headlining the parade was Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, Governor hopeful, Senator Barbara Buono, Congressman Frank Pallone, Newark Mayor Corey Booker, Congressman Rush Holt, and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver. Also in attendance were an assortment of state, county, and local officials, including State Senator Sam Thompson, members of the Edison and Woodbridge Council, Middlesex County Freeholder Kenneth Armwood and many others. “This is an opportunity for our elected officials to interact with our community and understand the value we bring to the State of New Jersey” said Executive Vice President Dhiren Amin.
The 1.9 mile parade route through New Jersey’s “Little India” included 19 floats, over 100 civic organizations, a marching band, and several dance groups. “We were very happy to be here, it is an example of how our communities are working together” said Edison – Metuchen NAACP President, Reggie Johnson, whose organization was one of the marching groups. There were floats representing a variety of themes. For example, the Edison Memorial Tower had a float stressing the importance of education and science. The small business community was represented by, among others, the Asian American Retailers Association and the Indo-American Pharmacy Society. There were several religious floats as well, including ones for Iskcon and Sri Guruvayaurappan Temple. Cultural organizations, like ICS of New Jersey, also had floats.
It was a colorful and festive day. The parade, which started promptly at 1:30 PM, ended with a vibrant cultural show in Iselin. “We are proud to unite the community in this common purpose” said Manher Shah, an IBA Trustee. “It is easy to celebrate in India, but to do so in America is an even greater honor and shows the greatness of both countries.”
On hand for the celebrations were Grand Marshall, Bollywood sensation Rashami Desai and international movie star Gulshan Grover. “Rashami is gorgeous” remarked 13 year old Jay Amin, East Brunswick. “The parade was terrific, absolutely marvelous” said Praful Barodia, who came from Virgina. “My wife finished her shopping on Oak Tree yesterday, and we stayed for the parade today” he added.