New York: Neeta Bhasin, President & CEO of Diwali at Times Square (DTS), is gung-ho about the event which is now in its 7th year. “Josh is very high as this year we are celebrating Diwali as well as ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ in Times Square on October 15,” she says.
The festival kicked off with the Flash Mob in the ‘Crossroads of the World’ on September 21 on the UN International Day of Peace. This year’s theme is ‘End Racism, Build Peace’, to create a world in which all people are treated equally, regardless of their race.
DTS partner AR Helping Hands Foundation founder, Naresh Kumar, said, “Diwali is a festival of knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and light over darkness. Diwali asks us all to bring into focus the light needed to conquer obstacles like societal ills born of ignorance and mal-intent, like racism.” DTS spreads its message of peace, love, harmony, togetherness, and inclusion through art, culture, entertainment, and food.
DTS is arguably the largest Diwali festival held outside of India. The US Government’s Share America website says the same.
Diwali at Times Square will be celebrated from 1 pm – 9 pm on October 15th, between 46th and 48th streets on Broadway. Diwali Bazaar Pavilion will offer products and services to visitors all day.
In the evening, the ‘Diya Lighting Countdown’ atop the One Times Square Tower screen will be followed by the ‘Light Up Times Square Concert ‘ with performers including singers Jay Sean, Arjun, Hrishi Songs, and Sparsh Shah. Dance performances are by Shiamak Davar Dance Academy, Arya, Masala Bhangra, Dance X Studio, SDA Dance Group, and Prashant Shah.
For the first time ever, Diwali at Times Square has partnered with the We Can Do This campaign – a COVID public education campaign of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide free updated COVID vaccines on the spot. HHS Regional Director of Region‑2, Dr. Dara Kass is encouraging attendees to take advantage of the available updated vaccines at the on‑site COVID clinic. She thanks DTS’ Neeta Bhasin and Xpresslane Pharmacy for their partnership.
Other partners of the festival include American Airlines, Eye Foundation of America, SBI, Northwell, ShopRite, Laxmi, Quicklly, Nanak foods, The American Foundation, and Save Soil.