Colorful festival to help those in need

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REXBURG — Sri Devinidhi’s her first major act of service started when she was in high school.

“I saw this blind couple sitting on the footpath begging for money,” philanthropist Sri Devinidhi says.

At first, she moved past the couple like everyone else. But then their baby drew her in, and she knew she had to approach them and help.

“I felt like the baby was going to die because the mother was also very weak,” Sri says. “I felt very guilty, so I thought I should do something — and then I decided right then that I’m going to take care of this family and this baby no matter what.”

Since that time forward she made it a tradition to serve that family each month. Now, as a Brigham Young University-Idaho student, Sri wants to help more people with physical disabilities. Her dreams are coming to fruition through Sri’s fusion of color and culture at the Vision Color Festival.

Sri Devinidhi

“Using this kind of event, we can do something good,” Sri says. “I thought I should do something. Something (that) is not normal. Something big.”

As celebrated in India, Sri is bringing elements of the Holi Festival to the upper valley.

“It is one of the famous festivals back in India, and we celebrate it for two days,” Sri says.

Day one of the celebration traditionally begins with fire, she says. The fire symbolizes the banishing of the evil or ill feelings within an individual. The celebration then takes a turn and focuses on the beginning of a new life with color throws performed with dyed cornstarch.

“I want to bring that fire, and then we want to show playing in color symbolizes starting something new and (that) we are going to have joy,” Sri says. “It’s more about relationships and letting go (of) all the hard feelings and bringing new good feelings and showing love.”

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Festival of Colors USA holds similar celebrations across the United States. Organizers say some 60,000 attend the event held every year at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple south of Spanish Fork, Utah.

Sri, however, wants her event to focus less on Hindu traditions, and more on the symbolism of the colors as well as family fun.

During the event May 3 and 4, color throws will be held every hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m at the Teton Vu Drive-In.

Organizers are providing the colored cornstarch and the public is advised not to bring their own. Tickets are $2 per person and $5 per family.

“It’s just a really chill, really fun event where you can just be going from section to just having a blast doing what you feel comfortable doing,” event planner Callie Solomon says.

A truck is being auctioned off, as well as an Apple TV a handmade kitchen table, zoo season passes, and other prizes.

All of the proceeds will be donated to those with physical handicaps, starting with the blind parents in India — Seetharam and Manjula.

“In Idaho we’re already pretty good at giving back, so I don’t think it will be that hard to give back to this, especially when we’re helping people in other countries as well,” Solomon says.

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