People from many nationalities converged on the Gulfport Casino in traditional attire on Saturday February 18 for the 2017 International Valentine’s Ball hosted by the St. Petersburg International Folk Fair Society (SPIFFS). From left, Guyana native Uma Lekhram, and Sudha Lakkaniki and Sathya and Prakash Challa of the southern part of India, pose outside the Casino with Boca Ciega Bay in the background. Sathya, who is a SPIFFS board member, said it’s important to have groups like the society. “It’s good to share our culture and heritage with everyone else,” she said. “And share our food, our music, our dance and our wonderful clothes,” added Uma. Although the ladies wore their beautiful saris, Prakash said his wife Sathya didn’t let him wear the loose shirt and pants traditionally worn by Indian men because she wanted him to look formal for the party. About 200 members attended the ball.
Members of the Scottish delegation pose at their table at the 2017 International Valentine’s Ball hosted by the St. Petersburg International Folk Fair Society (SPIFFS) at the Gulfport Casino. Goody Haines, acting president of the Scottish Cultural Society of St. Petersburg, second from left, said Scotts traditionally celebrate with a dance competition called a highland fling. “There’s always bagpipes and drums,” she said.