The men from Kuttyadi came early enough. It would be a few hours before the group dance (HS) got under way at the Capt. Vikram Maidan, but Sudheesh, a construction worker, and his friends Uddeep, a farmer, and Aneesh, a private company employee, were willing to wait.
Their wait was more than worth it. The group dance lived up to the expectations yet again. As the gorgeously costumed and made-up girls danced away with joy, the audience sat—or stood—mesmerised.
Group dance has been the most popular event at the State School Arts Festival. Among the choreographies that received the loudest cheers was the one by SKHS, Mattathur (Thrissur)—it was about all the 14 districts of the State.
Not surprisingly, group dance drew the biggest crowd of the 61st edition—some 20,000. Another huge favourite at the festival, the drama contest, attracted the second biggest. The Zamorine’s HSS Ground, in fact, failed to accommodate the thousands of theatre lovers who turned up for the event.
The fourth day of the festival also saw contests in Thiruvathirakali, Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Folk Dance, Chavittunatakam, Chenda-Thayambaka, Kerala Natanam, Thullal, classical music and violin.
The penultimate day also saw the biggest rush yet for food. More than 25,000 people had lunch, and that could even be an all-time record for the festival.
“There have been huge crowds for the last two days,” Rajeevan, convener of the festival’s food committee told The Hindu. “We were serving lunch almost into the evening.”
On Friday, even payasam had to be prepared again, as the rush for lunch exceeded all expectations.
Inching into the final day of the festival, host Kozhikode has overtaken Kannur in the race for the Gold Cup. At the time of filing this report, it has 874 points, six more than Kannur.
Reigning champion Palakkad is in the third position with 854 points, followed by Thrissur (859) and Malappuram (823).