For the first time in Pasadena, Colorado Boulevard was shut down to make way for the magnificient Pageant of Lanka featuring seven floats, two theater elephants, stilt walkers, olubakkos, traditional drummers, dancers and Sri Lankan Americans in beautiful osari, hand painted and batik sarongs and beautiful handloom shirts. The President of Sri Lanka Foundation Dishan Jayasinghe and his beautiful wife Anarkalli Arkarsha led the beautiful parade. The throbbing sounds of the whips, colorful flower bikes, rows of sesath and national flags filled the parade route. Traditional drummers and dancers, beautiful peacock dancers, energetic horse dancers, tea dancers, kawaii dancers and kapirina dancers danced along Colorado boulevard to show off their Sri Lankan pride.
The parade was held in conjunction with Sri Lanka Day, the biggest Sri Lankan cultural event hosted in California by Sri Lanka Foundation International at Paseo Colorado in Pasadena, California. It attracted a record number of cultural enthusiasts.
The one day event began at 12 noon with the presence of Mr. Terry Tornak, Mayor of Pasadena, Mrs. Swarna Gunarathna, Consul General of Sri Lanka to Los Angeles, Mr. Shan Halamba, Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka to Texas, Sri Lankan Americans and Angelenos. The cultural segment began with a bang. Four Kandyan dancers of Sri Lanka Foundation Performing Arts center showcased the graceful and rhythmic movements of traditional Ves Dance together with four female dancers. Dancers of Thathjith Dance showcased a beautiful creative fusion of Kandyan and modern dance. Kiara Gunawardena made the audience mesmerized with a fast classical bharatanatyam piece. The junior group of Sri Lanka Foundation Performing Arts center danced to Visharada Nanda Malini’s “Ran girl giri.” The cultural stage took a small pause for the Pageant of Lanka to take over Colorado Boulevard.
Exhibitors all the way from Sri Lanka like Lovi sarongs, beautiful batik shirts and ponchos, Sri Lankan handlooms and beautiful wooden art were available for culture enthusiasts to take home. Aromatic spices of Sri Lanka took over Paseo Colorado with authentic rice and curry from Rasa Bojun by Ranjini, Hoppers by Anon Caterers, Kothu and shorteats by Apey Kade, Faluda & Tea by JK Tea and Sweet Meats by Kanthi.
After the pageant of Lanka the cultural show restarted with a collection of amazing performances. Aruni Boteju choreographed a beautiful fashion show showcasing modern and traditional outfits of Sri Lanka. Everyone got a chance to listen to live traditional drumming, the heartbeat of the Sri Lankan people. The Sri Lankan Foundation Performing Arts Center performers led by head instructor Lal Thilakarathna and guest artist Dinesh Perera showcased all varieties of drums. Asian Friendship Arts Foundation showcased a traditional and western dance and the Pasadena Civic Ballet Hip Hop Company made everyone dance in their seats with their amazing hiphop performance. The girls of Thathjith dance academy in their beautiful purple and gold horse outfits took the audience by storm with their fast Thuraga Wannama.
Sri Lankan American Baritone Gehan Cooray performed a medley of Sri Lankan songs. Everyone was taken to the lush green tea plantations in Sri Lanka with the Tea Dance by Sri Lanka Foundation Performing arts center. DTK showed off their modern and hiphop moves while Hiruni Ranawaka showed the movements of Lord Nataraj in her beautifully choreographed bharatanatyam. A traditional Pathuru dance by Thathjith dance academy was performed. Vernon Fernando mesmerized the audience on his saxophone. Bollywood took over the Paseo with Nithya’s hindi performance and Chaminda and Preethisha Walpola sang various sinhala songs. Ran wan Rayak Productions represented Sri Lankan Cinema with their enactment of movie songs. Recording artist Talin Silva performed 3 of her new songs. The cultural show came to an end with an amazing Dance Drama directed by Lal Thilakarathna and choreographed by Lal Thilakarathna, Chathuri Wickramaarachchi and Umendra Kahadawaarachchi. Over 45 performers participated at the dance drama.
The raffle drew a large crowd, winners walked away with two return air tickets to New York by utravel.com, Dinner for two and Porto Allegre and Movie for two at Arclight Pasadena. The night session began with Delon performing his new sinhala single “Adare” and more of his original songs. The ‘Baila Session’ started around 7:30 with Anokia, California’s best band led by Roshan Serasinghe. Everyone danced the night away to the beats of good old fashion Sri Lankan baila.