InsideODU: News for Faculty and Staff
Thursday, April 25, 2013

 Feature

Local Residents Get a Taste of India at ODU Festival

Thousands of area residents flocked to the Ted Constant Convocation Center April 21 for Old Dominion's 7th annual Taste of India festival, one of the largest Asian Indian festivals held every year in Virginia.

Visitors enjoyed a full day of fun with live music, dances, ethnic food and vendor booths, as the region's strong Indian heritage was celebrated.

The Asian Indian community plays an important role in the Hampton Roads region, said Vinod Agarwal, ODU professor of economics and one of the event's organizers. "This community is represented by over 140 physicians, 50 Ph.D. scientists and engineers, many hotel and small-business owners, and numerous software and IT professionals," he noted. "Old Dominion University alone has about 30 professors of Asian Indian descent."

It's estimated that the Asian Indian diaspora contributes $140 million annually to the local economy.

This year's Taste of India - sponsored by ODU, Towne Bank, Inside Business, The Virginian-Pilot, Charles Barker Automotive and Chesapeake Regional Medical Center - featured Bollywood dances, a Bhangra dance competition and hourly door prizes. Bhangra is a traditional Punjabi folk dance.

Photos by David Hollingsworth


Colorfully costumed dancers perform in the Indian classical Bhartnatyam style at the festival.


Aneesh Chopra, former Virginia secretary of technology and chief technology officer during the first term of the Obama administration, addresses the crowd at the festival.


Festivalgoers visit one of the many vendor booths.


Dr. Ranganathan Venkatesan, a retired physician, is given an award by Taste of India in "recognition of the decades of his selfless service to the Indian Community, providing Vedic knowledge to area college and university students, and Free Clinic services to Hampton Roads patients." Joining in the presentation ceremony are Virginia senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.


David Mele, publisher of The Virginian-Pilot, presents a $5,000 Taste of India/AAPI Hampton Roads Scholarship to Anne Mugpayo, a senior at Norfolk's Granby High School.


The Bhangra competition featured traditional Punjabi folk dancing.


Dancers of all ages entertained at the festival, including these young girls who performed a Bollywood medley.

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