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By NITISH S. RELE - [email protected]

Here�s a roundup of the Festival of Lights celebrations by Indian American communities throughout Florida.

Find Out About Events All Over FLorida


The Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay recently elected its officers for 2010-2011. Leading the nearly three-decade organization is President Himatlal Parekh; Gautam Thakkar (vice president); Jyoti Gandhi (secretary); Dr. Ashok Modh (treasurer); Bhogilal Patel (social secretary); Chetan Shah (co-social secretary).

�For 2010, we would like to revitalize our routine events and also add 3-4 new events,� said Parekh.

The next Samaj event will be Uttarayan (Kite-Flying Festival) from 11 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 17, at Rowlett Park in Tampa.

For more information, call Parekh at (813) 969-1661 or visit www.gujaratisamaj.org                               President Himatbhai Parekh





Angithi Fine Indian Restaurant in Tampa recently celebrated its 13-year anniversary. Opened by the late Shyam Singh in November 1996, the owner today says that consistency, loyal staff and quality of food have been key factors in the eatery�s success.

Angithi, which can accommodate 60 to 70 patrons, offers catering for up to 1,000 people. On Tuesday night, there is a special dinner menu. Gujarati food is available on demand. Also, chaat and pani puri are now served. In fact, at a special request, the restaurant serves any kind of food.

The eatery is open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, noon to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday.

For more information on Angithi at 2047 E. Fowler Ave., call (813) 979-4889 or visit www.angithirestaurant.com

And while you are at the restaurant, you can shop just a couple of stores down in the plaza at Gro Styles, 2035 E. Fowler Ave. The boutique is owned by longtime Khaas Baat fashion columnist Kiran Bahl. For more information, call Bahl at (813) 843-9040 or visit www.grostyles.com



Gro Styles







 Angithi Restaurant







                                                Story provided by INDO-US Chamber

Tampa Bay is gearing up for its first annual India International Film Festival Jan. 22-24 at Channelside Cinemas. The three-day festival will open with a main feature presentation and opening night gala at 7 p.m. on Friday, followed by a variety of feature films, short films and documentaries from different genres. The organizing team is led by the INDO-US Chamber of Commerce.

Highlights will include opening and closing night galas with parties and receptions following Q&A sessions with the filmmakers, performances by local and guest artists and much more. Anyone visiting the Channelside District during the festival days will get to experience the Indian culture in different ways. The festival is expected to feature several upcoming Indian filmmakers from around the country and internationally. A special session with music videos by up and coming musicians of Indian origin is being planned. For those interested to learn more about the film industry and the movie business, a panel of experts will present the different aspects of filmmaking business and will provide an opportunity for filmmakers and those interested in getting involved to network.

Clearwater-based Homeowners Choice Insurance is the event sponsor this year. The three-day festival is expected to screen about 24 films, including feature films, documentaries and short films. Films from different parts of India will be presented. Limited sponsorship opportunities are available.

For more information about the festival or to join the volunteer team, visit www.IIFFTampa.com or call (813) 719-0303.



                                                Story provided by AACSA

The fifth annual convention of the Asian American Convenience Store Owners Association (AACSA) held its Trade Expo and Gala Awards Banquet Nov. 21 at the India Cultural Center in Tampa. During the day, business persons held high-level networking meetings. In the evening, the 28th Miss India USA Pageant took place. A Bollywood dance show featuring Bollywood actress Neha Dhupia had the crowd roaring, AACSA event Chairman Vijay Gandhi said.

Founded in 2005, AACSA is the apex body of the Asian American convenience stores in the United States More than 1,500 convenience store owners and operators from all across the United States attended the mega event to discuss the issues related to their business and welfare. Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink was the chief guest. State Senator Dave Aronberg, candidate for Florida Attorney General, was keynote speaker. South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley was an honored guest. AACSA chairman Chandrakant Patel coordinated the educational symposium featuring information on store licenses, crime prevention, financing, credit card processing and high-margin new products. 

A highlight of the convention was AACSA forming an alliance with the Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo to fight against the proposed soft drink taxes of an extra 3 cents a can and 17 cents on a two-liter bottle to raise $6 billion in additional revenues to pay for healthcare.

The AACSA convention proudly hosted the 28th Miss India USA pageant attended by highly qualified contestants and their supporters from 26 states, AACSA president Satya Shaw said. Business owners and all those who attended the day expo enjoyed a global evening filled with entertainment from Neha Dhupia, DK Bollywood Dance Pak group from Toronto, a performance by students of Tampa's University of South Florida and the nail-biting competition among Miss India USA Pageant contestants. Priyanka Singha from California was crowned by Neha Dhupia as the winner. She will represent USA in the Miss India World contest on March 27, 2010 in South Africa. The first runner-up was Shivali Vyas, a Tampa resident and student at the University of South Florida. Second runner-up was Disha Patel from Illinois

For information, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.aacsa.org





                                Story provided by Krish Seetharaman


                Divya Unni

More than 300 people were in attendance as the Hindu Society of North East Florida in Jacksonville celebrated its Annual Banquet Fundraiser program on Dec. 13. The program involved presentations about the need of funds to plan and build phase two of the temple, which will include a fully equipped kitchen and additional classrooms. The youth of the community stressed the need for support to the temple so that they would have a place of worship and learning (of Indian culture). 

The main cultural attraction was a mixture of Indian classical dances such as Bharathnatyam, Kuchipudi and Kathak presented by local artists from Jacksonville (Manjula, Lalitha, Pavani, Vishali and Arati) as well as artists from Alachua County (Prtha and Komalakumari). The featured artist was Divya Unni, who is the director of Sreepadam School of Arts in Houston.  

HSNEF will be welcoming the new year with Lord Ganesha Abhishek in the morning and Srinivasa Kalyanam in the evening of Jan. 1. Upcoming events in the new year include Makar Sankrant and Lord Ayyappa Puja on Jan. 14. For details, call the temple at (904) 268-7630.



By NITISH S. RELE - [email protected]

Opening a new store or restaurant? Expanding or relocating? Has your business won an award or a mention in your local newspaper? We want to hear from you to meet the rising needs of businesses and our readers. Call Nitish S. Rele at (813) 758-1786 or e-mail us at [email protected]

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