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Indian cultural event, fundraiser set for today

Dandiya and Bollywood Night to raise funds for local schools

Pleasanton residents can celebrate a significant Indian holiday through food, fashion and traditional dancing with a twist on Saturday.

Dandiya and Bollywood Night is back for its second year Saturday, and this time around it will be in a larger venue -- the Pleasanton Middle School gym -- to accommodate the crowd. It will include a lighting ceremony in recognition of Diwali, the Hindu "festival of lights," along with Bollywood and Dandiya dancing, food and artwork vendors and more.

Viji Manickam, the event coordinator and chair, said the evening was born out of a wish to expose more Tri-Valley residents to Indian culture. It also accomplishes Manickam's wish to give back to the Tri-Valley, since the event raises funds for music and educational enrichment programs in Pleasanton schools.

"I always feel you can help and grow the community you live in," Manickam said. "We want to always help kids with their educational growth as well as their enrichment."

Last year, over 1,000 people attended the inaugural event at Amador Valley High School according to Manickam. The event raised $15,000 for the Pleasanton Schools Educational Enrichment Foundation.

This year PSEE is co-hosting with the recently formed Partners in Community Development, an organization that Manickam helped start to raise funds for Tri-Valley schools.

Dandiya and Bollywood Night 2016 will include many of the same facets as the inaugural event, with a few changes. While last year's performances showcased the classical dances of India, this year's will feature folk dances. The Dandiya dancing will be back with a new feature -- lasers.

This year, Amador Valley High students will present the "States of India Fashion Show" to illustrate the diverse fashion styles in Indian culture.

Attendees will also be able to purchase Indian clothing, artwork, jewelry and food from vendors at the event.

"It's for the whole community," Manickam said. "We would like to see a lot of local non-Indian support and participation in the event."

Tickets can be purchased online at Event Brite by searching "PUSD Dandiya 2016." Tickets are $20 per person.

For more information, contact Manickam at 200-7164 or visit facebook.com/PUSDDandiaNight.

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