What a Festival of Light: Diwali it was! Wow!

Exceptional Diwali entertainment for Diwali at Clarke Theatre.

Many hands make light work, and the support from the community through volunteerism and sponsorship helped make the 2017 version of Festival of Light: Diwali one of the best ever. It was also an opportunity to celebrate Mission’s 125th birthday.

Some 20 sponsors made it all possible, and the 21 community and commercial booths in the marketplace foyer helped make the event even more special, including the new turban tying demonstration by Khalsa School of Mission.

1,000 small lights adorned the gates at Mission Clarke Theatre for Diwali.

“I was particularly impressed by the volunteer teams from Heritage Park Centre and Mission Secondary, plus the helping hands of Mission Rotary Club who collected six huge totes of non-perishable food for the MCSS Mission Food Centre and Christmas Bureau,” said Festival of Light: Diwali organizing committee chair Rick Rake who is also coordinator for the Mission Local Immigration Partnership based at MCSS.

“The entertainment (from Bollywood Dansations and Hurricane Korean Drummers to Abbotsford Arts Academy and Dasmesh Punjabi School) was spectacular,” said MCSS executive director Sanjay Gulati. Also performing were Garba Dancers, Correctional Service of Canada (Pacific Region) Community Pipe Band and Learning Stars Arts Academy.

Raj Patara of Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation learns about turban tying from a member of Khalsa School in Mission during Diwali.

Members of the public raved about the ethnic food cooked at Abbotsford Sikh Temple with ingredients for 1,000 people donated by Mission Save-On Foods (thanks to manager Dawn Haig). 1,000 bottles of Kirkland water were donated by Abbotsford Costco. 1,200 samosas were donated by Mission J’s Pizza and Ajay Construction.

When the theatre doors swung open at 6 p.m. for the eight stage acts, our two emcees Abbotsford Coun. Kelly Chahal and Satti Grewal with a lot of support from our new stage managers Alex Rake and Maria Buganska and Clarke Theatre personnel, made the show operate super smoothly.

Patrons arrived to the Punjabi music of LiLi music van (provided by Mission Regional Library) and 1,000 glimmering lights put up by our MCSS crew and students from our New to Canada program.

Everything from shoes and dresses to jewelry was on sale in the Indian marketplace.

Rick Rake’s Diwali organizing crew included Sanjay Gulati, Satti Grewal, Raj Patara, Monica Grover, Jean Konda-Witte and Ken Herar. To see Jean’s photographic album of the event, click here:

Lead sponsors this year were University of the Fraser Valley, Province of B.C., Mission Save-On Foods, Mission 125, District of Mission, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (through Mission Local Immigration Partnership) and media sponsors Mission Record, Abbotsford News and Punjabi Patrika. Thank you!

Team unloads four commercial-grade cauldrons of Indian food cooked at Abbotsford Sikh Temple at Heritage Park Centre for Diwali. Food was donated by Mission Save-On Foods.

Sponsorship also came from Agassiz-Harrison Community Services, Sunrise Rotary Club, SARA for Women, United Way of the Lower Mainland, Swing Optical, Mission Fire Rescue Service (first aid), Abbotsford Costco, Ajay Construction, Mission J’s Pizza, and United Defense Security Ltd. (Paul Sharma).

Pictures of the event tell the story nicely. And front-page coverage in The Mission Record newspaper following the event was a big surprise. To see The Record’s coverage, click here. 

The Punjabi Patrika Oct. 20 edition featured two half pages of coverage, one in Punjabi and the other in English! 

If you want to be part of the excitement of Festival of Light: Diwali 2018, contact Rick Rake at Mission Community Services Society ([email protected]).

Front page Diwali coverage in the Mission City Record on Oct. 13.