Starting in 2008, India’s Independence Day was celebrated in Naperville with a symbolic flag ceremony.
“And then in 2014 Mayor Pradel asked me, ‘Hey Krishna because we have a big Indian community in Naperville, why don’t we have an India Day parade?’ I said ‘yeah mayor let’s do it,’” explained Krishna Bansal, the chair of Indian Community Outreach.
That following year, the first India Day parade and more grand festivities were held at Central Park, put on by Indian Community Outreach. Then in 2016, the event moved to its current location at Knoch Park.
“We have grown, our first year was 5,000 people in a little park and last year was 33,000 and the numbers keep growing. We keep bringing better talent. But it’s not about the talent it’s mainly about making sure people have a great experience,” said Viral Shah, the treasurer for Indian Community Outreach.
“We saw a big shift of Indian American population coming to Naperville and the surrounding areas,” added Bansal. “So this has become a center stage. So this has really become the largest parade and one of the biggest Indian American events, not only in Naperville, not in Chicago or the Midwest, but in the country.”
Held this year on August 12, the event has become a colorful showcase of Indian food, music, and culture within our community.
“There is a big Indian American population here. A lot of their kids have never been to India. So for them to bring their culture, vibrancy, and the whole thing about India being so diverse and so much of culture- this is a showcase. And not only that, now all these children, their friends will see it too because they visit and they look at it so it’s really bringing that community together. Naperville is a melting pot of all the communities,” said Bansal.
This year, Patel Brothers is the grand sponsor of Naperville’s India Day.
Indian Community Outreach has even added an app for Naperville’s India Day this year to more easily navigate the event. The app is called India Day Chicago.
Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.
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