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'Colourful and joyous': Innisfil Holi celebration to include food, dance

Event marks both spring and the triumph of good over evil; celebration to take place in Stroud arena parking lot June 1

Holi is a joyous occasion that is celebrated to mark both the return of spring and the triumph of good over evil.

Also called the Festival of Colours, Holi Rangotsav is a Hindu festival known for its exuberant use of colours, festive spirit, and joyous atmosphere and will be celebrated in Innisfil on June 1 in the parking lot of the Stroud Innisfil Community Centre Arena, 7883 Yonge St., from 1-5 pm.

"Holi Rangotsav 2024 is more than just a festival; it is an opportunity to strengthen our bonds as a community and celebrate the beauty of diversity,” said Innisfil Indian Association president Loki Swain, whose organization is hosting the event. “Whether you are a longtime Holi enthusiast or experiencing it for the first time, this event promises to be a colourful and joyous occasion for all.”

A family-friendly outdoor event, attendees are invited to enjoy DJ Vishal’s eclectic mix of music that will suit a multitude of ages.

“From traditional Indian beats to contemporary tracks, the music will reflect the diverse cultural tapestry of Holi. The dynamic rhythms will ensure that everyone is on their feet, dancing and celebrating together,” Swain said.

The band Masala Mayhem will be in attendance. And traditional and modern dance is to be performed by God's Dance Crack (who have prepared a special surprise for the audience), Karika — The Verses of Dance, and DWA Bolly-Bhangra Dance Academy (a renowned dance group from Toronto).

There will also be food and craft vendors and a kids’ zone. And ticket prices include access to unlimited dry colours called Gulaal, which will be tossed about in celebration at the event.

“This is the most essential element of the Holi festival that brings vibrant energy and joy to our celebration,” Swain explained. “We ensure the Gulaal provided is of the highest quality, eco-friendly, and safe for all skin types.” 

Angela Aujla and Sudeshna (Su) Sahu will be emceeing the event — they embody creativity and organizational prowess, Swain says.

“Aujla is a South Asian Canadian visual artist whose mixed-media, narrative artwork delves into the complexities of history, memory, culture and identity. One of her notable exhibitions is ‘My Grandmother’s Dress', which engages with archival ephemera, family photographs, and material culture to disrupt colonial narratives and shed light on early diasporic Punjabi women in Canada," he said. "She is also currently a director at the McLaren Art Centre. Her understanding of aesthetics and visual storytelling adds a vibrant dimension to the event."

As association vice president, Sahu’s “leadership ensures smooth coordination and flawless execution of the event, leaving attendees with unforgettable memories. Together, they orchestrate a celebration that not only honours the traditions of Holi, but also pushes the boundaries of creativity, making it a truly unforgettable experience for all involved."

Holi is traditionally held at the beginning of spring. But the association decided to wait to celebrate until the weather warmed. They hope to make Holi Rangotsav an annual event in town.

“Holding the event in June provides an opportunity to extend cultural celebrations beyond their traditional timeframe, allowing for greater engagement and participation from the wider community,” Swain said.

He told Village Media that multiple sponsors made this event possible, including Innisfil Creek Honey.

“Supporting local can mean many things,” said Innisfil Creek's Brain Scott. “Enjoying our diverse local cultural celebrations is part of what makes Canada a great place to live.”

Admission is $10 for children under 12 and $15 for anyone older than that. Tickets are available here.

More information on the event will be posted on the association's Facebook page in the days to come.

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Amber Green

About the Author: Amber Green

Amber is a freelance journalist with InnisfilToday. Dedicated to the craft of writing, she is a storyteller at heart who writes novels, poetry, and short stories. She lives in Innisfil.
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