TAMPA, Fla. - Bollywood's biggest night, the International Indian Film Academy Awards show that carries a viewership of roughly 800 million people, has come to the United States for the first time in its 15 year history and tonight is the big night.
The awards show caps off a week full of events that started on Wednesday with Stomp, a free outdoor concert and dance festival at Curtis Hixon Park that drew more than seven thousand people. Thursday night was the IIFA Rocks fashion show, an exclusive invite-only event complete with green carpet.
Friday night was the Magic of the Movies at the MidFlorida Amphitheater, where some of the first awards were given out. In addition to the Bollywood stars, American actor Stephen Baldwin, who is giving out an award at Saturday night's awards show, and the reigning Miss America, Nina Davaluri, the first Miss America of Indian descent, also walked the green carpet.
The event also brought two days of business forums and an expo.
Tonight will include an opening dance performance by students from the Orange Grove Middle Magnet School of the Arts in Tampa. Actors John Travolta and Kevin Spacey, both scheduled to speak Saturday as part of the IIFA workshops, are also expected to attend the awards show.
Tampa was chosen to host the awards over cities like Las Vegas and New York with the help of Dr. Kiran Patel, chairman of the host committee, and Santiago Corrado, CEO of Visit Tampa Bay, who were instrumental in luring the awards show to Tampa Bay.
"I think Tampa has embraced us," Andre Timmons, director of the IIFA awards, said last September.