ALAPPUZHA: As the 59th Kerala State School Youth fest kick-started here, the Venice of the East reverberated with the rhythm of art, music and dance. Since the inauguration of the fest was scheduled to be conducted without extravaganza as part of the cost-cutting system, the 59 contestants inaugurated Asia’s largest festival by lighting the small earthen lamps in front of the main venue at Leo XIII HSS.
Interestingly, PWD Minister G Sudhakaran, MP K C Venugopal, District Collector S Suhas and other dignitaries also stood behind the contestants during the inauguration. By evening, Finance Minister Thomas Issac also paid a visit and interacted with the participants.
Earlier in the day, the festivities began with the performance of keralanadanam on the main venue which was followed by mohiniyattom, bharathanatyam, thiruvathira, folk dance, oppana, chavittunadakam and kathakali. Though the performances on all the venues started with a low audience, later almost all the venues turned to be a crowd-puller. However, the delay in starting the programmes left the audience in the lurch. Though the programmes were scheduled to start at 9 in the morning after the formal inauguration it started nearly one and a half hours late. This resulted in dragging several performances including bharathanatyam, chavittunadakam, kuchipudi and keralanadanam to midnight.
Meanwhile, the police force was on high alert as there were reports the participants of Kitab drama, which was pulled out of the fest after the Muslim community came down against it, would turn up at the Mary Immaculate HSS where the drama fest was undergoing. Even the police also deputed the force in mufti.
Meanwhile, the day 1 of the art fest witnessed a nail-biting show as last year’s host continued to remain in the top of the point table with 163 points.
Thought Palakkad district started with a lazy note, it bounced back to second position with 157 points, at the time of filing the article. Defending champion Kozhikode, which was below the 10th position in the morning, bounced back to the third position by evening with 153 points. Kannur, Kottayam and Ernakulam are maintaining 4th, 5th and 6th position respectively.
Education Minister C Raveendranath returned to his teacher avatar at the ‘DISHA’ exhibition organised by the career guidance and adolescence counselling cell of the Higher Secondary Department at SDV Ground.
Literally feeding a crowd
On the first day, food was served to around 12,000 participants and officials through the four kitchens in the municipal area, with ‘puttu’ and ‘kadala’ served as breakfast, and sambar, pulissery, aviyal, thoran, achar and payasam for lunch.
Pink and problem-free
The Pink police have been deployed in all venues to avoid eve-teasing. The police also introduced special numbers to lodge complaints related to disturbances. The toll-free numbers are 1515 and 1091.
A drink from cops
The Kerala Police Officers’ Association and the Kerala Police Association arranged beverages - water, lemon juice and ‘chukke’ coffee - for participants at their stall at Leo XIII HSS.
Old moustache tax
An exhibition of paintings and photos on the renaissance movement is attracting huge crowds. The exhibit, organised by the I&PR Department, showing the special tax till 1814 for wearing a moustache, and other customs and rules, attracted curious visitors at a venue in Leo XIII HSS.