THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:Onam is a just a month away and the capital city is gearing up for the grand celebrations accompanying the festival. Over the years, the city has hosted top artistes as key attractions for the Tourism Department’s week-long celebrations with a pageant and vibrant floats marking the culmination of the festivities.
Last year, there was a brief uncertainty about using floats. This year, however, there was no room for doubt; the floats are well and truly an attraction no government can discontinue.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who is also the chief patron of the celebration committee, will inaugurate the week-long celebrations at Nishagandhi auditorium on September 3. Various programmes will be held in 30 venues in the district, including Kazhakuttam, Neyyatinkara, Attingal, and Sri Chithira Thirunal Park at Fort.
A food festival will also be organised at Suryakanti in Kanakakunnu ground from September 1 to 9.
On September 9, the pageant bringing down the curtains on the celebrations will start from Kowdiar and travel to East Fort. Last year’s pageant boasted over 1,000 artistes performing 46 art forms, including 13 art forms from nine other states, and 75 floats.
Every year, the floats give an opportunity to government departments to showcase their services. The Thiruvananthapuram Medical college, Kerala Fire And Rescue Services, Kerala Social Security Mission, Kerala State Road Transport Corporation choose themes reflecting their services. The floats by various departments might also feature ambitious programmes undertaken by the government in sectors such as social welfare, power, agriculture and environment. Thiruvananthapuram district panchayat, Kerala State Beverages Corporation and Suchitwa Mission will mix a message into their floats and have awareness-creating topics.
The floats will also depict themes of responsible tourism, green protocol, environment conservation, renewable energy and the campaign against alcohol and drugs. Cinema, literature, women’s empowerment and science and technology will also be featured in the floats designed keeping the ‘green protocol’ in mind.
The floats will be equipped with security measures including firefighting equipment. The heads of government establishments can sanction up to Rs 4 lakh for sponsorship of tableaux to be presented as part of the Onam pageantry.
Checks will be carried out on float drivers and the people accompanying them. Policemen in uniform and mufti, shadow police, women police personnel and pink beat police will be deployed in adequate numbers.
The organising committee led by Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran reviewed the arrangements on Saturday. The Cabinet meet held last week declared the Kowdiar-Manacaud stretch in Thiruvananthapuram as the festival zone.
What’s on the cards for the week?
The week-long celebrations will start on September 3. On September 9, the pageant bringing down the curtains on the celebrations will start from Kowdiar and travel to East Fort. A food festival will also be organised at Suryakanti in Kanakakunnu ground from September 1 to 9.