Release Date: October 17,2022

Lights, Music, Dancing and Art Planned for Downtown Akron Diwali Festival

October 17, 2022, Akron, OH — With the assistance of several partners in the Indian, Nepali, and Bhutanese community, Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP) will host the Downtown Akron Diwali Festival on Sunday, October 23 from 5 – 8 pm on Cascade Plaza. Diwali is one of the major religious holidays in Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism, and is a festival of lights, symbolizing inner light that overcomes spiritual darkness. More information about the event can be found at downtownakron.com.

The festival will include music, cultural dances, food, vendors, the lighting of candles, cold spark pyrotechnic light shows by Pyrotecnico, and a puja ceremony performed by Priest Sreedhara Sree of Shiva Vishnu Temple in Parma, Ohio.

DAP Communications Director Dominic Caruso says, “This is the first time we’ve hosted a Diwali celebration, so we’ve done our best to connect to the community, and we expect to grow those connections in the coming years. We’ve been fortunate to work with a number of individuals, including Mahananda Luitel and Hemanta Khati, the President and Vice President, respectively, of Greater Akron Hindu Sewa Samittee, and Sonal Jain, owner of Chamak Dhamak, who has provided invaluable assistance and resources in creating the decor and look of the event. The downtown Diwali Festival should be a beautiful and inspiring celebration for everyone who would like to attend.”

Sonal Jain says, “Chamak Dhamak means glitter and sparkle. As much as I loved all the new home decor here, I really missed the cultural handicrafts I grew up seeing. That got me to start my small business here in the U.S.A., and through it, I hope to help people reconnect to their home and culture with gifts and decor from India.”

Owner of Akron Henna Art and Akron Bollywood Dance, Nirali Schrader will create a large-scale rangoli, a temporary drawing characterized by colorful geometric patterns, floral images, and religious symbols, on the landing at Cascade Plaza. The ornate artwork of the rangoli is an important part of the Diwali celebration, and symbolizes a way to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and good luck.

Visitors to the Diwali Festival will be able to create their own rangoli with help from staff from the Akron Children's Museum.

At 6:15 pm, several groups will present cultural performances, including Adrija Dance Studio, a renowned Indian Classical, Bollywood and Contemporary dance academy located in Northeast Ohio. Founder and Artistic Director Adrija Datta, who has over 15 years of formal Indian Classical Dance training and has performed internationally for more than 12 years, says “We will be presenting a wonderful medley of semi-classical, folk and freestyle dance choreographies on some of the most evergreen Bollywood songs, celebrating the true essence of Diwali—joy, prosperity and love.”

Downtown Akron Diwali Festival is presented by Downtown Akron Partnership with support from the City of Akron, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and Ohio Arts Council.

Find out more about Downtown Akron Partnership. Follow us at www.downtownakron.com, and on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.