Huge crowds enliven State School Art Festival

The 53rd State School Art Festival truly came alive on Tuesday. There were action on 15 stages, huge crowds turned up for most of the events, the dining hall fed 20,000, and two exciting events made their debut.

And Kozhikode took an early lead in the race for the gold cup, with 182 points, as it began its campaign for its seventh overall title in a row. Kannur was in the second place with 174 points, followed by Palakkad (172), Malappuram (166), Thrissur (165), Thiruvananthapuram (162), and Ernakulam (157).

Not surprisingly, classical dances drew the biggest crowds. Dance lovers reached well in time to watch girls’ Bharatanatyam (HS) at the main venue of MSP Parade Ground and they were treated to some fine performances too.

Mohiniyattam (HSS) too was a big draw at the Kottappadi ground, which also saw folk song (Nadan Pattu) being introduced to the State festival. It turned out to be an entertaining debut, as the crowd was enthralled by a stunning variety of indigenous music. If the response is any indication, folk song — with its rustic charm of the lyrics and the raw, uninhibited way of singing — is going to be a big attraction in the coming years of the State School Art Festival.

Vanchippattu also made a promising beginning, at AUP School, where too a packed house came to see for what should for many them have been an unfamiliar sight. In no other festival would you see as many diverse events as in this festival. The first three places in the high school section were won by teams from Kozhikode, Kottayam, Malappuram, and Thiruvananthapuram.

It was not just the glamorous events that Malappuram patronised on Tuesday. A good number of people came to watch English recitation at Municipal Bus Stand Auditorium.

But the biggest crowd of the day was at the dining hall, where more than 20,000 feasted, which is probably a record for the School festival. “We were actually expecting 14,000,” said P. Parameswaran, food committee convener. “But we were prepared and there was no shortage of food.”

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