By: Anjali Gonuguntla
It was a beautiful, bright, sunny, and moderately windy Saturday afternoon at Frisco Commons Park, Frisco Texas. I stepped onto the pavilion, which was swarming with people clad in identical neon green shirts, busily working to arrange kites, briskly opening toys, quickly organizing boxes, and laying out drinks in a hurried, but determined and orderly manner. It was a race against time itself! There were only 30 minutes left till it would officially commence! I was also wearing one of these bright green shirts, getting hyped up to welcome our guests to the festival. I took a confident breath, and ran up to my place on the pavilion – right next to the amplifier and right behind the mic, ready to host alongside Vibha Volunteer, Nimitt Sharma. Within a few minutes, I got the music running, and we had music playing just as the preparation for all of the activities had finished. I took a deep breath, and spoke into the mic:
“Welcome! To this year’s annual Vibha Kite Flying Festival!”
As my voice echoed throughout the park, a large crowd of people started to walk over into the pavilion, and into the inviting fields beyond. They enthusiastically snacked on food while chatting with each other, sharing jokes, and playing games! All the attendees were dressed in picnic clothes, and many brought their families. The crowd had a large smile on their face, as did the volunteers. “I was pleasantly surprised by the demographics of the participants of the annual celebration of kites. I saw babies and preteens and teens and uncles and aunties and grandparents, all enjoying the idea of fresh air with the rest of the community” said Youth Volunteer Varun Bojji. The addition of Chettinad Palace catering piping hot Vadas, Samosas, Dosas, Chicken 65, and Chai added a new attraction to this year’s festival.
Vibha KFF originally took shape in 2003. This event initially started out as a family fun event and STEM awareness event on kites. From a small scale festival 12 years ago, KFF has grown into a large event, attracting around 1500 attendees this year, which is a great accomplishment, considering that 8 years ago, our attendance was a mere 100 people! This year, we had 60 volunteers, of which 40 were from the Dallas VIBHA youth group.
There were many activities to ensure that none of our guests would be bored! Our booths included Kites, Face Painting, Mehndi, Kids Carnival, Snacks & drinks. All booths were very busily worked to keep up with eager customers. Donations came ringing in for colorful kites with their favorite characters. The girls lined up for mehndi, while all the toddlers had butterflies, balls, and flowers painted onto their faces. Kids of all ages participated at the Kite Making table, unleashing their creative side and giving birth to very unique and original kites, with customized drawings and colors that spanned the spectrum. “The most memorable moment from the festival was when I was helping on the kite making table and I saw these little kids, faces lighting up, as they made their own kite, for presumably one of the first times of their lives.” ~Rooshi Nagar, Vibha Youth volunteer, Age 14.
For the past couple of years, we have had a tradition of hosting an “On-The-Spot Talent Show”. This show involves kids being able to pledge money towards the cause of Vibha, and show off one of their talents for three minutes. This year, the Youth Group volunteers performed dances to kick start the talent show. People joined in, and were soon in an upbeat mood, ready to show off their talents! The show lasted for two and half hours, and brought in a large portion of our revenue.
The Kite Flying festival has brought together the Indian Communities of the DFW Metroplex. “I enjoyed the atmosphere that the Vibha organization created. Overall, I noticed the positive change that Vibha made by bringing more and more people in the Dallas area a sense of societal togetherness by hosting these memorable events.” ~Varun Bojji, Vibha Youth Volunteer.
Truly Kite Flying Festival is now a tradition our community looks forward to. It is destined to grow bigger and have a larger impact for Vibha.