EDISON, NJ - The 11th Annual Official New Jersey India Day Parade took place on Oak Tree Road, New Jersey’s little India. Official estimates place the attendance at 38,000. The parade commenced in Edison and concluded on India Square, in Iselin. The over 1 mile parade route was filled with spectators, in many instances three and four rows deep.
“The success of today’s parade is due to the efforts of many, including our sponsors and volunteers,” Dhiren Amin, president of IBA said.
The largest parade to date, the festivities included marching bands, over 20 floats and dozens of walking groups. Six Bollywood stars, including talk show host Richa Anirudh and “Calendar Girls”Avani Modi, attended the parade. Rounding out the galaxy of celebrities were Prachee Shah, Madalsa Sherma, Sameksha Singh, and Sujata Mehta.
“This was so amazing, a real tribute to India,” Richa Anirudh added.
They were joined by an assortment of state wide elected officials, including Congressman Frank Pallone, State Senators Ray Lesniak and Sam Thompson, Assemblypersons Craig Coughlin, Patrick Diegnan, and Nancy Pinkin, Middlesex County Freeholder Ken Armwood, and Newark councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield-Jenkins. Leading the political delegation were Edison Mayor Thomas Lankey and Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac.
The parade featured a 110 member marching band. Additional highlights included the floats by the Edison Democrat Organization, Air India, TV Asia, Oxigen, Investors Bank, and the SriVari Balaji Temple. Over 100 New Jersey based organizations participated. There were several dance groups as well.
“No matter where Indian immigrate to, they continue to be filled with passion for India,” Calendar Girls, Avani Modi commented.
Another unique feature of the parade was the Young Entrepreneurial Society, a new subchapter of IBA.
“They are our future, we a building for tomorrow” Chandrakant Patel, Chairman for IBA explained.
“We need to promote our local talent,” Manher Shah, IBA trustee added. “New Jersey is filled with young talented artists.”
Oak Tree Road is an internationally known business district filled with Indian stores and restaurants. Mahesh Shah, IBA trustee, described the area as “our Time Square” Asian Indians account for 12.93% of the Middlesex County's total population.