MILLBURN, NJ - The community was treated to a new and unique event on Sunday, June 10 as the first Millburn Spring Festival was held at Taylor Park. TAPinto Millburn and Short Hills spoke with one of the organizers, Dr. Jyoti B. Sharma of the Indian American Association.
How did the IAA come up with the idea for the event?
The seeds for the Millburn Spring Festival were laid almost 6 months ago when the Indian American Association of Millburn Short Hills discussed partnering with the South Mountain civic association to bring a fun event that celebrates the unity and diversity of Millburn Township. The members of the Indian American Association Board met with the Board members of SMCA, brainstormed ideas and held several meetings to plan this event.
With the rapidly-growing Indian population in town, is a part of the festival to educate others on Indian culture?
The festival aims to celebrate our diverse town, highlight the work done by local organizations and promote local businesses. This event brought traditional Indian culture and traditions mainstream and share our rich culture with the larger Millburn community.
There is also a large focus on service for this event. How did the IAA choose the organizations featured at the event?
There is some outstanding work being done by the local organizations and we wanted to highlight their work and create awareness amongst our community members. There are plenty of opportunities for everyone to volunteer their time and for a cause, they care about. We had organizations such as the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum, Millburn Municipal Alliance Committee (MMAC), Girl Talk Millburn, Millburn Green Team and the Millburn-Short Hills Volunteer First Aid Squad represented at the event. It was an opportunity for parents to expose the kids to volunteering and service opportunities in a fun setting.
Why do you personally believe it is important to showcase diversity in town?
Millburn has become a very diverse community over the last few years and that's our strength. Our community celebrates this diversity through many cultural events throughout the year. The Millburn Spring Festival is a unique cross-cultural event that aimed to bring people of diverse backgrounds together through sports, food, music and dance.
Are there specific reasons why activities such as cricket and henna were featured at the event?
Cricket and Henna have gained popularity in mainstream America and we want to make it accessible to the larger Millburn community. We were fortunate that the Sanskriti of NJ Cricket club accepted our invitation to play a game of cricket during the Millburn Spring Festival. It was very well received and the discussions have already started to organize a Millburn Cricket team.
What do you hope attendees took away from the event?
Millburn Spring Festival is a fun family event. The main takeaway was a fun afternoon in our backyard where residents from all backgrounds can come together- enjoy local cuisines, live music, dance and learn about a new sport. We also brought awareness to a lot of social issues like Drug/Alcohol awareness, suicide prevention and environmental issues like reducing the plastic footprint in the community.
Are there plans to host more events like this in the future?
Absolutely!! We are encouraged by the overwhelming response to the event despite the weather and we plan to host this festival annually.
The Indian American Association of Millburn Short Hills would like to thank Mayor Cheryl Burstein, Deputy Mayor Jodi Rosenberg and Township Committee member Jacqueline Lieberberg.for joining us. Thanks to all the organizations including Millburn Municipal Alliance Committee MMAC(Nancy Kislin and her High School volunteers), Cora Hartshorn Arboretum volunteers, Girl Talk Millburn Founder & leader, Millburn High School Junior, Annika Sharma, SOUTH MOUNTAIN ESTATES CIVIC ASSOC. MILLBURN NJ members Sara Emma, Chris Drucker and Merrily Riesebeck, Millburn Green Team volunteers Vanita Gangwal René Linden-Paparian, Millburn-Short Hills Volunteer First Aid Squad, Millburn Fire Department.
This event would not be possible without our local business sponsors- Curry Tub, Green Nectar Juicery, La Strada Restaurant, Philly Pretzel Factory of Livingston, Splurge Bakery & New York Life Investments.