Navratri festival celebrations begin Oct. 15

The traditional nine-night festival of dance, music and worship takes off Oct. 15 through 17 and then Oct. 22 through 24 at India Cultural Center, Lynn Road, in Tampa.

The Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay organizes the annual event. ³We are expecting a lot of people as we do every year,² said Swapna Shah, president of the samaj. Nearly 1,700 people participate nightly in this popular celebration.

And for the first time, we are holding a garba competition to pick the best costume and best grace in three age groups. We will have a judge picking the winners while the Navratri celebrations continue on the floor.² The competition will be held on both the weekends. Shah revealed that the Khalia group of Bombay will be performing garba and dandiya songs and music for the participants.

Singers Rupal Parekh and Piyush Shah (who also have performed during The Masala Cruise) will be accompanied by three other musicians on their debut visit to Tampa.

There also will be booths offering latest Indian film song CDs, DVDs and tapes as well as food and clothing.

The charge is $15 per day per person for non-Gujarati Samaj members. Parking is $3 per car per day.

For more information on the exhibition, check out on the Internet or call (813) 949-8779.

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