For those wanting to enjoy the Festival of Colors, which begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 30, and continues again at 11 a.m. Sunday, March 31, here is a quick list of practical tips and hints to make your experience even more fun.
Tip #1: Attire
Don't pull out your Easter outfit for this event. Instead wear a nice white T-shirt and marvel at the colorful patterns that are created.
Tip #2: Accessories
Sunglasses are recommended not only for shading the sun's rays, but also to protect eyes from "splashes" of colored chalk. Bandanas are also quite popular to protect your nose and mouth during the mass color-throwing events held every two hours.
Tip #3: Money
Unless you've already pre-ordered your admission, colored chalk, Indian meal, and maybe even souvenir T-shirt, then be sure to bring along some cash. You'll need it for parking anyway. Leave those debit cards at home.
Tip #4: Parking
Although the festival has provided shuttle buses in the past, there is nothing on its website stating that there is shuttles this year. The festival has said to park on the street.
"Please be courteous in the neighborhood. Allow space for residents to park in front of their homes and do not block driveways. If a resident asks you to move, please do so. Exercise politeness at all times remembering that people have their homes and lives here and we are only visiting for a day."
Tip #5: Chalk
Don't even try to get all cheapo and sneak in some colored chalk you found online. No outside chalk will be permitted at the festival. This is to protect all the participants from possible unknown chemicals in those other colors. The main temple income, too, is from selling these colors, so help support this great annual event.
Tip #6: Colors
Go ahead and splurge on buying multiple packs of the colored chalk. You'll want to have plenty to "paint" your friends, neighbors and strangers, but then you also want to be well equipped for the big color-throwing highlights as well.
Tip #7: Lunch
As mentioned earlier, you can dine on traditional Indian vegetarian food, which is another popular highlight of the festival. There will also be various food trucks in the area, too.
Tip #8: Etiquette
Don't be afraid of the colored chalk or the people flicking handfuls of color at you. It might seem intrusive, but everyone enjoys the playfulness. The festival encourages people to approach strangers and ask, "May I lovingly decorate your face and recolor your hair?" I remember people asking me for poofs and smears of purple or pink to add to their T-shirt canvas filled already with green, yellow and blue.
Tip #9: Safety
Families are welcome to attend the event (kids 12 and under are free), but young children should be protected and kept away from the center of action, especially when the colors are first thrown. Asthmatics, too, might want to take caution to protect their airways during the color throws. (Speaking from experience, keep your mouth and nose covered well and that inhaler close at hand.)
Tip #10: Avoid stains
The best thing is to thoroughly shake out all dry excess powder from clothes and hair before getting back in your car, entering local businesses and especially before showering or washing your clothes. Once the caked dry colors get wet, it is difficult to remove. Take advantage of the clever entrepreneurs just outside the festival. I marveled at the genius young boy at a previous festival who, for a reasonable fee, would blow off any chalk with the help of his air compressor. Clever kid!
Tip #11: Temple grounds
Respect the Krishna temple while enjoying the festivities. This includes no smoking, alcohol or drugs on the temple grounds. Also don't climb anything except stairs. So don't scale the roofs, poles, fences brass elephants or stage.