Chicago Andhra Association (CAA) a new Telugu Organization of Andhrites in Chicago land area held its first ever ‘Vanabhojanalu’, Picnic, at St. James Forest Preserve in Naperville on June 11th. According to the organizers, the event drew around 1200 people, a humungous crowd never heard about in Chicago land area especially for a Telugu Picnic event.
Chicago was abuzz with the Vanabhojanalu event news with palpable excitement about the event much prior to the event kick-off. On the Event day, since 11 AM in the morning the crowds started thronging the forest preserve. By noon… No wonder, the park was filled with Andhra fervor & flavor.
‘Aritaku lo bhojanam’, Traditional Andhra style lunch in a banana leaf was the highlight of the event. Beautiful Saree clad Andhra women serving at the event were a sight not to be missed. Traditionally, Andhra marriages & events are held in such a fashion and had everybody talking that it made them felt as if they were literally in Andhra Pradesh.
Members & Visitors thoroughly enjoyed a very sumptuous Andhra meal comprising of Tandoori Chicken, Corn and the delicacies from Rayalaseema & Andhra regions. Despite soaring high temperatures, long lines were visible all across the park with people waiting patiently to savor Andhra delicacies.
Adults & Kids were having a blast enjoying games like musicals chairs, tug of war along with their families. Cooking competition paved the way for cooking instructions of how to make Andhra Laddu, a delicacy that is very popular among Andhrites. It was a bemused spectacle to watch folks standing in line to form an Andhra Pradesh state map. A huge contingent of Telugu’s from other states & regions were witnessed having a great time & volunteering at the event echoed the sentiment that Telugu’s are all indeed united and one.
Sai Yandamuri a long term Telugu resident of Chicago commented "In the last 25 years, I have never witnessed such an event like this that is filled up with maximum capacity crowd of Telugu people with so much enthusiasm”. A visiting parent from India expressed his views like this, "I see the andhrites here are more passionate for helping community here compared to our motherland. I am thoroughly thrilled with the Arati akulalo bhojanam"
Dr.Bhargavi Nettem, a renowned family practice physician, demonstrated the process of CPR. Sundar Dittakavi, President of CAA was instrumental in crowd management and congratulated the organizers for making the event a very memorable one. Dr.Uma Katiki, Vice-President of CAA & Event Coordinator Karthik Desai executed the event with meticulous precision. Organizing committee was very appreciative of the efforts by various Committee Chairs Suresh Sanakkayala, Sairavi Suribhotla, Raj Potluri & Srihari Jasthi. Founder Chairman Srinivas Pedamallu presented the prizes to the raffle ticket winners and congratulated the Telugu community & volunteers for their whole-hearted support to CAA.
Andhra Pradesh Development Forum of North America, APDFNA, Directors Padma Rao Appalaneni & Bhanu Swargam explained the objectives of Development forum and how its network could be leveraged for carrying out various developmental activities in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Founders Dinkar Karumuri, Ramesh Garapaty, Vani Dittakavi, Sujatha Appalaneni & Raghav Jatla helped managing the volunteers & ensured the smooth execution of day’s proceedings. Murthy Pisapati, Prasad Nettem & Sailesh Maddi volunteered for creation of website and took care photos and videos for the event. Youth directors Tanvi Jatla & Usha Appalaneni coordinated social media & youth related activities. Sahitihi Kotha, Sunitha Rachapalli & Kiran Vankayalapati coordinated traditional sports activities. Neelima Boddu & Anu Gampala coordinated the map & raffle tickets respectively.
American Telugu Association, ATA, conducted a registration drive for the upcoming ATA Silver Jubilee Conference in Chicago. Various Telugu Organizations personnel from CTA, TTA, CHITA, TANA & ATA were present in scores and extended their warm wishes to the new organization and expressed their solidarity & support for CAA.