Governor Nikhil Kumar to flag off the procession from Kowdiar at 5 p.m. tomorrow

Tourism Minister A.P. Anil Kumar has said that the preparations for this year’s Onam pageantry, which will be held on September 20, are in the final stages. The focus of this year’s processions would be on the traditional art forms of Kerala. The number of artistes taking part in the pageantry would also see an increase compared to the previous years, he said while addressing a press conference here on Wednesday.

Governor Nikhil Kumar will be the chief guest and he will flag off the procession from Kowdiar at 5 p.m.

“Our aim this year is to give more artistes an opportunity to perform. Around 3,000 participants will exhibit their prowess in various art forms at the pageantry. As of today, there are 75 floats and performances of 68 different art forms. This number is set to increase,” said Mr. Anil Kumar.

He said the pageantry would be led by an ‘Onappottan’, a representation of King Mahabali which is popular in the Malabar region. Also on display would be performances of various ancient art forms like Poothan Thira, Kali-Darikan, and Vattamudi Theyyam. A 25-member fusion drum team was another addition.

“We usually include art forms from a few other States as part of the pageantry every year. This year, we will be having Gujarati dance, Yakshagana, Manipuri dance, and Bhangra dance,” said Mr. Anil Kumar.

The floats would display the State’s achievements in various fields and also would provide a critique of its drawbacks. Central government institutions, State government institutions, local self government institutions, cooperatives, banks, and private institutions would take out floats for the procession. The first and second prize winners in each item would be given attractive gifts. The prizes would be presented at a mega show to be held at the Central Stadium at 10 p.m.

Government offices and schools in the district would be given holiday on Friday afternoon as part of the Onam pageantry.

Mr. Anil Kumar said the week-long onam celebrations had been a success with the collective participation of the public braving the rain. To a question on the expenses incurred, he replied that the total outlay for the celebrations was Rs.2.26 crore, out of which Rs.30 lakh would be spent exclusively for the Onam pageantry. Minister for Health V.S. Sivakumar and Chairman of the Onam pageantry committee Varkala Kahar, MLA, were present.