Union approves Diwali celebration

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Diwali, a five-day Hindu, Sikh and Jain religious festival of lights, is making an early appearance in Union this year.

More than 1 billion people around the world celebrate the holiday, which falls on Oct. 24.

The City of Union gave developer Hemal Soni permission to facilitate the holiday on Oct. 14 from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Diwali will take place at the end of Brilliance Avenue, a plot of land the city acquired several months ago. 

The event came to be because Soni told Union officials that residents of Union Affinity apartments and Traemore subdivision were interested in finding a location to celebrate Diwali. 

The event will include a firework display with roman candles, ground-spinners, sparklers, poppers and small mortars. Mayor Larry Solomon and City Administrator David Plummer were the first to voice their approval but said that cleanup, safety protocols and a security deposit need to be established before the celebration begins. 

“I did inform them that usage on this property requires submission of a liability waiver, naming the City of Union an additional insurer,” Plummer said. “After notifying him, Soni still wanted to move forward with this process and asked permission from the City to hold this event.”

The Union City Commission was in support of this event, but Commissioner Brian Garner and Commissioner John Mefford had a few concerns about safety and accessibility.

“My insurance brain is making me nervous about the trailer near the property because it only takes one kid to wander in there and cut themselves on glass, ” Garner said. “The first order is to have Affinity remove it permanently for the Diwali celebration and future events.”

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Mefford also asked Plummer to clarify that this is not a City of Union-sponsored event, but more so approval to use city-owned spaces for religious and other cultural events.

“This is similar to when we let the Boy Scouts utilize our property for their yard sale,” Plummer said.

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