Biggest Color Fest in USA! Masala Radio’s Houston Holi 2019

Stage entertainment featured UK Chart Topper Raghav.

SUGAR LAND: In ancient hindu texts, the celebration of Holi came when the evil goddess Holika and her demon brother King Hiranyakashyap were defeated by the king’s good young son, Pralhad and his faith in Lord Vishnu.

The all-women Masala Radio management team of Houston Holi 2019 kept the same faith, despite all challenges. Masala Radio and Aapka Colors presented Houston Holi 2019, along with major sponsors Texans Energy and Karya Property Management. The Color Festival boasted a record-breaking diverse crowd in 12 years with bursts of colors, energy on Saturday March 23, 12-5PM at the Crown Festival Park at Sugar Land, featuring the angel voice of South Asian pop sensation Raghav.

For the second year at this new venue, Holi Revelers were blessed with perfect weather as ABC News ran a 10 am live telecast with event director Sandhya Thakkar and the colorful Masala crew led by sales manager Rinku, event manager Payal, and admin manager Sonali. The super success of Houston Holi was only possible as major sponsors Northwestern Mutual, Britannia, Deep Foods, Ramji Law Group, and leading Community organizations Gujarati Samaj of Houston, India Culture Center, and Hindus of Greater Houston persevered to bring our ancient culture, traditions, and sheer joy to thousands and thousands at 2019 Houston Holi.

Sandhya Thakkar said, “We did not anticipate the unprecedented day-of-event rush which blocked the entire feeder between the event and the Grand Parkway u-turn.” The SL Police Chief issued an order to shut down the Grand Park way exit on both sides of 59 to clear the traffic on the feeder immediately so Greatwood Residents could leave their subdivision. Guest found a way to park at UH SL and crossed the large field to make way to Houston Holi.

Dignitaries gathered on stage for the aarti.

Vijay Pallod said “Oh what an event it was! I had not imagined this kind of crowd.” Alpha Juice Sugar Land gave away 1,000 kulfi’s to the first 1,000 guests as they walked in! Free Kids rides spanned the park, from the new Knockerball game, Top Golf Games, to Giant Inflatables with tall slides, and the ever-popular Pirates Adventure motion ride. The Karya Property booth was turned into a rickshaw stop for free rides in authentic Indian Rikshaws and the Karya Sholay Side Car Scooter rides. Texans Energy’s Javed & Nisha Meghani, personally supervised distribution of 5000 free Texans brand spring bottled water with free balloon animals.

Northwestern Mutual’s Omar Saeed & Chandani Mahant also provided an amazing balloon artist. Shaukat Dhanani, Gulshan Enterprises, & Shell Oil Company were the presenting sponsors of the live concert with Raghav.

Britannia had two tents filled with free wheat rusks and cookies and Umang Mehta was floored with the turnout, “I have never run out of free cookies in any previous years, and this year I brought double the quantity and still ran out.

“Just Unbelievable!” Republican Congressman Pete Olson & Democratic Fort Bend County Judge KP George together made an entry to the Holi stage in Masala Radio’s Autorickshaw and wished the entire community “Happy Holi.” Thara Narsimhan President of HGH, Geeta Patel President of GSH & ICC President Nisha Mirani ushered all sponsors to light the Holi bonfire and pooja to bless everyone.

The stage was led by another strong female, Emcee-Singer-Dancer Henna Shah, and official Holi DJ – DJ Nish who kept the audience pumped for a non-stop five hours. The opening act was a dazzling performance by the Carson & Barnes Circus performers. Stage Entertainment featured the timeless Raghav starting with his UK Chart topper Angel Eyes, and including his AR Rahman hit “Ishq Shava.” When Gully Boy star rapper Bali took the stage, the crowd went mad with his rendition of “Apna Time Ayega.”

Songbird Akhila, trained in Classical Hindustani, wowed with her mashup of the Ariana Grande hit “God is a Woman.” The most hype and frenzy was created by the awesome Quattro Beats of four DJs – DJ Nish, DJ Zee, DJ AV, and DJ Tamin who absolutely rocked with his inimitable Dhol. The best part of the event was that it attracted the largest non-Indian crowd ever. Even 97.9FM’s MadHatter came on stage to wish everyone Happy Holi!

A record number of local Bollywood Dance students melted hearts with their adorable dance moves, including Arya Dance Academy from Houston & Louisiana, Bollywood Dancing Stars, Dhadak Dance, Khushboo’s Dance, Houston Di Shaan, HTown Divaz, Infused Performing Arts, Dancing with Dolly and Swathi’s Dance Group.

Dance school performers thrilled the audience with their moves.

Crazee Colors, the No 1 color company in the USA, sponsored the Color Rave with their high quality organic, toxin-free color powder. Shan Foods gave away Biryani and Kheer samples to demonstrate their Indian Masalas. Bollywood Superstar Akshay Kumar, a long time friend of Masala Radio, gave a shout out for Houston Holi and sent 1000 giveaway Tshirts for his upcoming Bollywood film Kesari. Amerejuve gave away hundreds of products and microderm facials by inviting guests to try their luck on their popular pink wheel of fortune, and MCFI provided free consultation on the new EB-5 Visas.

The super large park was fully packed, and guests steadily lined up at the mouth-watering Indian Street Foods booths led by Gayatri Bhavan – with their hot dosas especially the hit chocolate dosa. Nirmanz Food Boutique and Mirch Masala had long lines for their freshly made chaat, Tru India with their world-renowned Hydrebadi Biryani was completely sold out by 2pm. Biryani & Co was also a huge hit.

Tacos & Frankies offered an amazing assortment of fusion wraps with everything from paneer tikka to veg jal frezi. Tastee Pizza sold out first, offering both traditional cheese pizza and Indian pizzas filled with cilantro, paneer, chutneys and of course Masala! Sub Zero put on a show, zapping ice cream with their magical nitrogen blasters. And at the tail end, Sizzling Gyros food truck created their own magic with falafels, french fries, and chum chums. It is a tradition that Houston Holi is always a vegetarian and alcohol-free event.

Masala Radio thanks the dream team Masala Entertainment crew led by the invincible Rinku, new but extremely capable Payal, youth leader Sonali, wiz designer Carlos, and steadfast setup team of Ruchir, Mayur, Shah, Ninad, Sahil and Harshin along with 180 volunteers from local high schools.

Ticket and Info management Lauhael, Priyanka, Sangeeta, Kajal and Zubin and the amazing Radio Jockey stage management crew Dilip, Amit, Anees, Rajoo, Krupa, Priyanshi and Manali. The organizers also thank Meedu, Asit and Alex for spectacular photo-video coverage, an exceptional extended event crew and the Masala Radio jockeys who put their hearts into promoting Holi: Ina, Alka, Priya and Swati.

Special thanks for the warm welcome by City of Sugarland’s Destination Manager Jessica, as well as the multiple department heads of Police, Fire, Environmental Protection, Health, and Building Permit for making Houston Holi as safe as it was fun.

Look for more pics on HoustonHoli.com and Facebook.com/HoustonHoli. Sandhya Thakkar said “This event was not possible without the tremendous support of the entire community. It is not possible to organize the event at the ticket price we have without the support of our amazing sponsors. The even bigger Houston Holi 2020 will on Sat. March 21, 2020. Above all thanks to the grace of Lord Krishna who directs us all.”

Photo Credits Meedu Fotography & Asit Patel.

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