Here are a few of the Florida communities gearing up to celebrate the 2015 festival of kite flying, which also is known as Makar Sankrant, Uttarayan, Lohri and Pongal.
BOCA RATON: The Punjabi Association of South Florida will hold Lohri from 6:30 p.m. Jan. 17 at Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton campus, 777 Glades Road; members are $20; non-members are $22; children 6 to 12 years are $10; for information, call Renu at (954) 384-2217, Usha at (561) 523-8665 or visit http://www.thepunjabiassociation.org
TAMPA: The Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay will celebrate Uttarayan from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 11, at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. 301 N., Tampa. The Samaj will sell kites and thread. Use MLK entrance. Free for Samaj members. Non-members $15 and seniors are $10. Nominal parking fee is payable by all. Snacks and lunch will be served. For more information, call Manish Patel at (813) 270-9896 or Sudhir Shah at (727) 686-7424.
Also, the Maayboli Melawa Tampa Bay (MMTB) will hold its annual Makar Sankrant program on Saturday, Jan. 17. For details, call (813) 351-9110 or visit http://www.mmtbusa.org/
And on Tuesday, Jan. 13, Sanatan Mandir, 311 E. Palm Ave., Tampa, will hold a Lohri/Makarsankrant puja at 8 p.m. For information, call the temple at (813) 221-4482.
Also, Ambaji Mandir will hold Vishnu Sahasranama at 10 a.m. on Jan. 14. Ambaji Mandir is at 10991 58th St. in Pinellas. For more information, call the mandir at (727) 388-6685, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ambajimandir.org
SARASOTA/BRADENTON: The Gujarati Association of Manasota will hold its Uttarayan celebration from noon to 5 p.m. on Jan. 18 at Twin Lakes Park, 6700 Clark Road, Sarasota. Free for members, $10 for non-members. For information, call Rina Patel at (941) 518-3462 or visit www.gujaratiassociationofmanasota.com
ORLANDO: The Gujarati Society of Central Florida will celebrate Uttarayan on Sunday, Jan. 11. Venue is yet to be determined. For details, visit www.gujaratisocietycfl.com or go to https://www.facebook.com/gujaratisocietycfl
Pongal/Makara Sankranthi will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 14, by the Hindu Society of Central Florida (1994 Lake Drive) in Casselberry. For details, call Mahesh Kapadia at (407) 902-8634 or visit www.hindutempleorlando.org
The Orlando Marathi Mandal will hold its Makar Sankrant event on Jan. 17 from 10 a.m. at Barnett Park, 4801 W. Colonial Drive, Orlando. On the agenda are volleyball, cricket, soccer, football, badminton and, of course, kite flying. Mandal members are free; non-members $10; for information, email email@example.com or visit http://orlandomarathi.com/
BARTOW/WINTER HAVEN: The Bhartiya Samaj of Central Florida will celebrate Uttarayan from 11 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 11, at Mary Holland Park, North Broadway Ave., Bartow. For more information, call samaj president Subhash S. Patel at (863) 648-0294 or visit www.bscfl.com
OCALA: On Sunday, Jan. 18, there will be kite flying at Pushtidham (Haveli of Florida), 14080 S.W. 20th Ave. Road, in Ocala. For information, call Bharat at (973) 460-5936 or Raj Kamdar at (352) 568-5729.
DAYTONA BEACH/ORMOND BEACH: The Indian Cultural Society of Daytona has set its Kite Day Picnic from noon to 3 p.m. for Saturday, Jan. 10, at Bethune Pointe Park, 101 Bellevue Ave., Daytona Beach. For more information, call Sangeetha Bhoola at (386) 527-0855 or visit www.icsdaytona.com
MELBOURNE (SPACE COAST AREA): The Indian Association of the Space Coast (IASC) will celebrate Uttarayan from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 18, at 7575 W. Highway 520, Cocoa. For information, call (321) 271-6162, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.iascbrevard.com
Enjoy the festivities and be safe!
NITISH S. RELE