Historical Diwali festival celebrated for first time in Six Flags Gurnee, Illinois

Submitted by Syed Ullah
Updated 11/27/2018 7:30 AM
  • A large Diwali was held for the first time recently Six Flags Great America in Gurnee.

    A large Diwali was held for the first time recently Six Flags Great America in Gurnee. Courtesy of Syed Ullah

Diwali is the one of the most popular festivals in India, and is celebrated around the world by people of Indian and south Asian heritage.

Diwali symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness; that's why it's called the "festival of lights." Diwali has become a popular festival throughout the world. The holiday is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists.

This year, several events and celebrations happened in the Chicago area, including a historical celebration at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee on Saturday, Nov. 10.

"We are excited to celebrate Diwali in Six Flags," Mona Bhalla said.

Mona Bhalla Productions hosted the event at Six Flags Great America.

South Asian Festival 2018 was an incredible success as thousands of people from all regions of South Asia and mainstream America poured in and celebrated as one. Not even the cold weather stopped the crowds from coming and enjoying the first South Asian Festival and celebrating Diwali, the festival of lights.

Those who came enjoyed Rangoli decorations, Diwali Photo Booths, henna artists, shopping, delicious food, dancing, DJ music and all that Six Flags has to offer.

Hundreds waited in line for the doors to open to witness the Diwali show in the Grand Music Hall at 3 p.m. that included belly dancing by Dimitra, ethnic dances, Bollywood dances, and Bhangra performed by groups from Culture in Motion and Dance Diversity Group, and by Manpreet Bhalla, Simran Bhalla, and Kiran Bhalla.

Between 4 and 5 p.m. was a power-packed one-hour performance by Mona Bhalla (aka "Kudi Bindaas"). The performance included many of her hits as she supercharged the audience with Bollywood and Pakistani songs that had an American twist to them, which had everyone in the music hall clapping and cheering.

After the performance in the Grand Music Hall, Mona Bhalla performed several of her songs like Hindi, Punjabi and Pakistani Bhangra songs and also performed a Gujarati song on special request for her fans that were not able to find a seat for the indoor show. Certificates were presented to the groups that performed the cultural dances at the event. CEO of Six Flags Jim Reid-Anderson was present and watched all the activity.

Guests were very thankful for Mona Bhalla Productions for having a huge heated tent with chairs for those that didn't want to wander through the park or wanted to take a quick break to warm up, or just catch up with friends.

Food was provided by Porto's Peri Peri of Libertyville and Six Flags' culinary departments. DJ entertainment was provided by DJ Sanjay of Chicago and DJ Nisha and Neesha.

Mona Bhalla Productions put this event together at Six Flags to bring the communities together and bring the South Asian Culture to mainstream America and that it definitely did.

The common theme from all the responses and feedback from those in attendance was "Congratulations for doing something different!" and "We can't wait until you do this again!"

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