Apart from Experiential camping & exhibiting Maharashtra’s folklore, the festival will also be an amalgamation of fun, learning, and shopping!
by Suman Gupta
Mumbai: The S R Save Camping Ground, Bordi Beach, Dahanu, Maharashtra are all set to open the gates to the 7th Annual Chikoo Festival. The event, which promises several new attractions this year, is slated to take place on 2nd and 3rd Feb 2019. Initiated by the MTDC and organised by the Rural Entrepreneurship Welfare Foundation (REWF) to promote tourism in the area, Chikoo Festival has been a resounding success ever since its inception in 2013. While last year, there were about 175 stalls, this year the festival is expected to have more than 250 stalls.
Rural Entrepreneurship Welfare Foundation (REWF), which runs the Chikoo festival consists of a group of well-educated and settled entrepreneurs from the area. They are committed to bringing this region up and creating opportunities for locals. The Chikoo Festival is one of the many initiatives they keep organizing throughout the year.
This year, the festival will see many different things and some of the highlights are like the following – Amhi shetkari (translated to ‘we farmers’) wherein farmers will showcase local produce. Some other attractions include a dedicated food section called Annadaata; there would be workshop/activity area on Warli painting and paper bag making; old-school games such as those played with marbles and shells; caricature and calligraphy artist; pottery classes; and sand art on the beach. A scintillating performance by Saurabh Save winner of MTV Bollyland, who is also a local talent & will be playing Bollywood & Marathi music unplugged.
The festival will also exhibit Maharashtra’s rich folklore and will be entertaining the guests throughout the day during the festival with native Koli dance, lavani, folk music, Dhol dance, Tarpa, Mardani Khel and other dances and songs of Maharashtra.
Speaking about this, Amol Patil President (REWF), said, With Chikoo festival we want to highlight everything Bordi has to offer right from farm products to art and craft and other historic places around it. This also helps to build sustainable economy for the locals. So every year we add new elements to keep the interest of visitors active.“
There is also an additional experiential camping element this year for visitors on the 1st and 2nd of February 2019. During the nights they can look forward to camping, movie screening; bonfire; barbecue with an local twist; board games; night walk and star gazing; and during the day there will be mountain treks; 3 to 4 hours of bicycle trails to the chikoo farm and interiors of Bordi , visit to places where Gandhiji and his wife Kasturba stayed and a freedom fighter memorial, Chikoo safari, winery visit etc. There is also a trip arranged to see a day in the life of the Warli tribe, where one can experience what they eat, how they cook, where they live etc. Visitors can book slots on the website https://www.chikoofestival.com and the pre-booking starts from the 5th of January 2018.
Apart from being a place to source organic produce for the visitors attending, the stalls are also aimed at enabling the local farmers to explore opportunities and scale their business. There cannot be a more apt platform for them given that the festival provides global exposure. Above everything, it is an attempt at creating a sustainable economy for the local people of this region.
The festival not only supports local farmers but also helps women entrepreneurs & other entrepreneurs from the area.. Chikoo fruit is a major source of revenue in this region, and this festival celebrates the same while combining other elements. To be a part of this festival is to support local initiatives while having an entertaining experience with family and friends. Last year, the festival saw a footfall of over a lakh in 2 days and generated revenues worth more than a crore.
Entry to the festival is free, making it a perfect event for both leisure and business purposes. An added bonus is that the Dahanu region also enjoys proximity to metropolitan cities such as Mumbai, Thane, Surat, and Nasik and is well connected by railway, airway, and road.