BATA Float won First prize in Independence Day Parade in California




Bay Area Telugu Association (BATA) has been representing Telugu culture and heritage in the form of a grand Float in the yearly Independence Day Parade in California for the past 21 years. Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) organizes this annual function in Fremont, California, to celebrate India’s Independence Day. This year, the event took place on Aug 17th and Aug 18th, which was attended by over 50,000 people. Festival of India has established itself as one of the major events in the Bay Area. The Floats in the parade represent various states and regions from India. For the past 21 years, year after year, BATA has been displaying a Float depicting different aspects of Telugu culture and heritage. This year, BATA Float represented 100 years of Indian Cinema Industry. Out of all the parade floats, BATA float received the First prize.





In this year’s parade, BATA Float dazzled on the Fremont city streets with its gold and silver décor which represented the glory of the silver screen.  The authenticity of the float, costumes, and props have captured the true essence of  Indian cinema. BATA volunteers Harinath Chikoti, Karun Veligeti, Jhansi Thiruveedula, and Sireesha Battula have architected the design, and the entire BATA team put weeks of effort in preparing the Float for display in last Sunday’s (Aug 18th)  parade.



The float was decorated in center with a large, imposing movie reel and stairs covered with a red carpet representing a movie set.  It was complete with a director, camera man , hero and heroine filming a dance routine.  The periphery of the float was adorned with cutouts of various famous Telugu cine actors.  Additionally, many BATA volunteers dressed in period movie star outfits complete with masks of various cine actors who danced to well-known foot tapping Tollywood numbers on and around the float.



Another attraction of the Float was the Rickshaw. In olden days, it was a common practice to use a Rickshaw going thru the town to publicize movie releases. To depict this, the BATA Float had a colorful Rickshaw (with movie box in it) leading the Float, which was pulled by Ramesh Konda (BATA past President). Ramesh was dressed in a traditional Rickshaw puller attire (dhothi and head-paga)  which completed the authenticity of the theme. Audience and the judges were very amused and pleasantly surprised to see BATA’s creativity in bringing the traditional Rickshaw along with the beautiful Float to the parade, which in its entirety represented the movie industry consisting of movie shooting, acting, dancing, movie reels, and publicity.


A walking group with the Float consisted of many BATA volunteers and supporters led by BATA Advisors Vijaya Aasuri and Veeru Vuppala. The walking group were calling out patriotic slogans such as “Vande Maataram” and “Bharat Maata ki Jai” all along the procession route.  The streets of Fremont echoed with these slogans along with the Telugu patriotic and movie songs being played on the float.  The audience along the 2 mile route of the parade applauded the float.



The FIA judges elected BATA float as the First prize winner.  The prize was presented to BATA team on the main stage by the Grand Marshal Jimmy Shergill (popular Hindi Actor and Director from India) in presence of thousands of people and many dignitaries that include Consul General N. Parthasarathi, FIA Chairman Dr. Japra, Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, Councilmember Dr. Raj Salwan, etc. Speaking at this occasion, BATA President Kamesh Malla thanked all the people who have walked along with the float and all the people who have cheered the float along the parade route. BATA also extends its deep appreciation to all the volunteers who had worked tirelessly to prepare and decorate the float.

Vijaya Aasuri, Veeru Vuppala, Kamesh Malla, Kalyan Kattamuri, Sireesha Battula, Harinath Chikoti, Karun Veligeti, Jhansi Thiruveedula, Srilu Veligeti, Ramesh Konda, Yashwant Kudaravalli, Sumanth Pusuluri, Kiran Vinnakota, Kalyani Chikoti, Prasad Mangina, Sridevi Pasupuleti, Rajesh Chavli, Narsimha Rao, Ravi Thiruveedula, Deepika, Deepti, Deepthi, Surekha, Veena, Naresh, Ratna, Deepthi Vasuki, Jyotsna, Shiva, Srikar, Sirisha, Anantha, Kalyani, Swathi, Preeti, Radhika, Manasa, Sudha, Firdos, Sanjay to name a few and a whole host of youth volunteers of BATA toiled in the hot sun and cold nights to artfully build and decorate the float.  The unique aspect of the BATA float is that the float is entirely designed and made by the volunteers.

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