The morning of Sunday, April 3rd broke bright and blue, a perfect backdrop for the rainbow of swirling colors that permeated the air at the Asian American Resource Center where we held our second annual Holi For Kids! festival. From 11 am to 3 pm the lovely AARC grounds were brought to vibrant life with laughing and dancing families gleefully throwing colored powder at one another, learning to boogie Bollywood-style, enjoying lively and elegant dance performances, and chowing down on delicious treats from local food vendors. Now mind you, Holi is a popular holiday and there were many festivals held in the Austin area, each having its own unique appeal, but Holi For Kids! is the only one that caters its festival primarily to children of all ages. The main focus is to create a safe and comfortable environment for kids, and a worry-free one for their parents, while engaging them and educating them in the cultural aspects of Holi and South Asian life. We provide only organic and nontoxic colored powder at the event and do not allow outside color to be brought in. Additionally, there were no pichkaris or any other water play at the festival. We wanted to assure that everyone had a blast smearing and throwing color but that the majority of it could be wiped off before everyone climbed back into their cars to return home. The entertainment that ran throughout the festival was also geared towards kids. Our own Parul Mehta taught a dynamic Bollywood dance workshop for kids, and truly I can’t remember the last time I saw a sight as adorable as the large crowd of kids chucking their chins and wiggling their hips in true Bollywood-style! The kids loved Parul's workshop so much that they called her back for an encore, and this time the adults showed their moves too! There were also vocal and dance performances by children of all ages.
When the gleeful Holi players needed to replenish themselves they had delicious choices from Swad, Kebabacue, and Bayleaf, and unsurprisingly the Kona Ice truck enjoyed a long line throughout the event. SAAM gave away scrumptious cupcakes on a donation basis to benefit Dell Children’s Medical Center; in fact, the proceeds from the entire event went to Dell Children’s. SAAM president Pooja Sethi purchased over one thousand dollars of gifts from the Dell Children’s wish list and on Thursday, April 14th several of our board members presented the gifts to the Dell Children’s staff. When Pooja Sethi started South Asian Austin Moms two years ago, her main priorities were engaging and educating South Asian kids about their culture, exposing the larger Austin community to South Asian cultures, and giving back to her community. As a result, proceeds from all of our events are donated to charitable organizations, often local.
Various local vendors were stationed around the Holi field, and some, like Abrakadoodle and Mad Science, offered educational and craft activities for children. Sankara Eye Foundation offered karaoke for those who wanted to not only dance but also sing like a Bollywood star. All in all, the wealth of entertainment and activities, as well as the contagious exuberance of the Holi players, made for a successful and enormously fun event! This year’s Holi For Kids! festival boasted twice as many participants as last year and we are going to work tirelessly to make the third annual Holi For Kids! even bigger and better! Keep checking our Facebook page and web site for news about our Diwali kids event in October.