Community support for Diwali celebration overwhelms

Mission Festival of Light: Diwali, organized by Mission Community Services Society, featured one of its biggest crowds ever on Oct. 18, with the upper balcony at Clarke Theatre opened to accommodate those who came to enjoy the ethnic food, the marketplace and the two-hour stage show.

Dasmesh Punjabi School, Mission Punjabi Cultural Club, Khalsa School, Learning Stars Arts Academy, Garba Dancers, Abbotsford Arts Academy, Vancouver’s Vancity Lion Dance group, duo Jennie Bice and Boris Sichon, and Inspire Me Fitness BollyX dancers entertained the crowd.

For the first time, Mission Rotary Club members led by Jim Hinds handled food services for the 900 people who enjoyed the ethnic food provided by Mission Save-On-Foods and cooked in the gurdwara kitchen managed by Khalsa Diwan Society, said Festival of Light: Diwali organizing committee chair, Rick Rake. Twenty sponsors supported the event, including lead contributors District of Mission, University of the Fraser Valley, Save On Foods, Mission Arts Council, Province of BC, and Swing Optical.

Funding also came from United Way of the Lower Mainland, Sandhu & Sran Mortgages, and Mission Punjabi Cultural Club.

Media sponsors were Mission Record, Abbotsford News, What’s On! Mission and Punjabi Patrika. Mission Fire Rescue Service, Bob Friesen Photography, Abbotsford Costco and United Defence Security Ltd. were also involved.

Clarke Theatre technical crew, Bronwen Sutherland and stage manager Alex Rake ensured a well-organized and lively stage show.

A huge team of high school leadership and community volunteers helped set up and take down the specially-decorated event.

Some 27 vendors filled the theatre foyer to offer activities, non-profit information and purchasing opportunities. Emcees for the night were Satti Grewal and Kelly Chahal.  Facebook albums of MCSS Diwali images can be seen HERE and HERE.