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Festival of Chariots features parade
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The fifth annual Festival of Chariots and Ratha Yatra Parade comes to Clearwater Beach Saturday, May 3, 1 to 4:30 p.m. Riding on the Chariot are the beautiful Deities of Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra, decorated with stunning silk outfits and real flowers.
CLEARWATER Ė The fifth annual Festival of Chariots and Ratha Yatra Parade comes to Clearwater Beach Saturday, May 3, 1 to 4:30 p.m.

An Indian multi-cultural parade and festival will be celebrated with entertainment for the whole family. There will be live music, singing, classical dance, books, bazaar, and lots of free delicious vegetarian food. The Ratha Yatra Parade is the oldest known parade in the world.

There is a cultural program at the Pier 60 Pavilion, 1 Causeway Blvd., from 1 to 4:30 p.m. The parade begins at 1 p.m. at the Pier 60 Pavilion, and returns there at which time the free feast begins.

All are welcome. Admission is free and photography is permitted.

If youíve ever dreamt of visiting colorful, exotic India, we have a treat for you. Get a taste of India without leaving Florida. There will be lots of family-friendly activities and entertainment: live music and dance acts and classical Indian dance. But the big draw is the delicious vegetarian food. There will be a sumptuous feast served free of charge to all.

The procession route is about 2 miles long and can be easily walked by all age groups. The parade will move in a leisurely fashion, stopping here and there along the route, giving way to song and dance.

The processionís unique feature is a huge chariot with a blue, red and yellow canopy decorated with swans, lotus flowers, flags, Hanuman and a brass chakra on top. This chariot has two very thick ropes attached to it that are over one hundred feet long. These ropes are pulled by the parade-goers, propelling the chariot along the parade route.

Riding on the Chariot are the beautiful Deities of Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra, decorated with stunning silk outfits and real flowers. Itís a vision from another world. Accompanying the procession is lively Indian music and dancing, backed by double-headed mrdanga drums and karatala hand cymbals. The festival is sponsored by ISKCON Alachua, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness whose Founder/Acharya, His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, came to America from India forty-five years ago and introduced the timeless tradition of the Festival of the Chariot (called Ratha Yatra in India).

Since the 60s this festival has been held yearly in more than 50 major cities in the United States, Canada, and all over the world. Nine Ratha Yatras are held yearly in the state of Florida: Miami, Jacksonville Beach, Tallahassee, Orlando, Tampa, Gainesville, Daytona Beach, Clearwater Beach and St. Augustine.

For more information, visit www.festivalofchariots.org or call Bhadra das at 352-316-4560 or Bhadradas@gmail.com.
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Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
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