Emerging as the newest 'Little India' in the US, Hicksville, an upscale suburb of New York, witnessed the inaugural India Day Parade on Long Island with Bollywood actor Vinod Khanna leading as Grand Marshal.
Over 10,000 people from Indian communities scattered over the township that's attracting both families and Indian owned businesses joined the parade Saturday following the format of the famous India Day Parade in Manhattan slated for next Sunday to celebrate India's 66th Independence Day.
India's Consul General in New York, Prabhu Dayal, also joined the parade along with officials such as Nassau County executive Ed Mangano, and supervisors of Town of Hempstead and of North Hempstead, Kate Murray and Jon Kaiman respectively.
There were over a dozens floats, a marching band and many other groups walking down the parade route lined by onlookers. Some 100 community organisations of the area participated, cutting across religion, politics or region of origin in India, according to the event organisers.
The parade started from Patel Brothers Plaza, and winded down Broadway, a stretch dotted by Indian owned eateries, stores and offices, some of which offered free water, soft drinks and even bangles to ladies. It culminated near the Asa Mai Hindu temple.
Wearing a beige kurta and white dhoti, Khanna cut a dapper figure.
"India has come a long way but still has a long way to go," he said, asking non-resident Indians to keep contributing to India's progress.
Coming less than a week after the Wisconsin gurdwara shooting, messages to remove misunderstanding about Sikh identity were very visible, even highlighted on a float.
Air India, Patel Brothers and Harry Singh of Bolla Oil were the main sponsors of the event.