Hi Ruth: OK, here’s the lowdown on the Festival of India. Below is the link to my reel.
The Festival of India is divided into two parts – the street party on Gerrard E, and the island party sponsored by ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness).
I attended the island festivities on both Saturday and Sunday and was a featured speaker.
On Saturday, the number of people going across to Center Island was a record according to the ferry drivers who said they had never been so busy.
The event itself was much larger than I expected. There were about two dozen tents offering everything from instructions on how to wear a sari, discussions on vegetarianism, reincarnation and karma, music and dance performances, book stalls, art exhibits and more. They also offered a free vegetarian feast. This feast was open to all and you could return as often as you liked. Food was distributed in a covered, four-slot Styrofoam tray as you would get for restaurant take-out food. The food consisted of four dishes – spicy chickpeas, potato and spiniach, basmati rice and an Indian sweet called halavah. To this was added a cup of mango juice and a slice of fresh watermelon.
According to Bhaktimarga Swami, head of the Toronto Hare Krishna Temple, more than 20,000 free plates of food were distributed.
Now, I have been at festivals where some small food samples are given free, but this was the first event where whole plates of food were freely given.
The event also had speakers on both days, including me. I spoke on how Noah Came From India/The Origins of Religion, and on why Atlantis was really the sunken Indian city of Dwarka.
The event had a Woodstock feel with the colorful, Indian-style tents, traditional Indian music and dance going on, free food and people of all kinds mingling together. In my estimate, about 50-60 percent of the crowd were South Asians and the rest white people and Blacks. Not many Orientals.
My talk follows on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74hrOYaNEDQ