Youth Festival opens in Bhubaneswar

January 8th, 2010 - 9:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Suniel Shetty Bhubaneswar, Jan 8 (IANS) Artists from across the country enthralled a huge crowd with diverse forms of classical and folk dances on the opening day of the National Youth Festival in Bhubaneswar Friday. An Indian Air Force helicopter showering flower petals over the main festival venue thrilled the audience.
The five-day 15th edition of National Youth Festival began with a group of artists performing lively traditional state folk dance. Later, artists from various parts of the country performed.

Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister M.S. Gill, who inaugurated the festival, described the gathering as a mini India. “I have never seen such a huge gathering in such a festival in any part of the country.”

Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said: “India is a land of many cultures. The festival will provide a unique opportunity to the participants to know each other’s language, culture, arts and traditions.”

At least 4,000 youths from all over the country will compete in about 17 categories of cultural competitions in classical, semi-classical and folk arts during the event at Kalinga Stadium here.

Stars like Usha Uthup, Hans Raj Hans and Babul Supriyo, actor Suniel Shetty and Olympic medal winning boxer Vijender Singh have also joined the festivities.

The National Youth Festival is organised every year in January to commemorate the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda Jan 12.

More than 5,000 policemen and hundreds of state government officials have been deployed to make the event a grand success.

Gori, a 34-year-old rare white crocodile, which was reared and bred in Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary in the state’s Kendrapada district, has been made the mascot of the festival to promote wildlife conservation.

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