Married couple Janice and David Agarwal have deep roots in Zionsville. They have lived in the town for 23 years and founded their nonprofit, Watch Us Farm, in Zionsville 13 years ago.
In honor of their longtime service to the community, the Agarwals will head the Zionsville Fall Festival Parade as this year’s grand marshals.
The parade starts at 10 a.m. Sept. 9. It begins at Zionsville Community High School, then proceeds to Mulberry Street, continues on Ash Street and ends at Main Street. This year’s theme is “That ‘70s Party.”
“Our theme ties mostly into the parade because people decorate their floats and dress up in costumes,” Fall Festival Chairman Tim Reinhart said.
Janice and David Agarwal began serving the Zionsville community when they founded Watch Us Farm, a nonprofit that employs adults with special needs in a secure and nurturing environment. They create handcrafted items such as cards, woven textiles and services to give back to the Zionsville community.
Outside their nonprofit, Janice is a pediatric physical therapist and David is a doctor.
“The work that Janice and David do holds great importance and ties to our VIP Night on Sept. 8 at the festival,” Reinhart said. “The Lions Club has partnered with them for a long time, and they do a great job with their business.”
Watch Us Farm grows the pumpkins for the Zionsville Lions Pumpkins and Hayrides event each year. The Agarwals operate a small farm that sells produce, eggs, flowers and meat locally.
“We grow about 1,000 pumpkins for the Lions Club, and we also like to help out with as many of their events as possible,” Janice said.
David recently became a Lions Club member.
“We have had a great relationship with the Lions Club for years,” Janice said. “It can be hard to be a member for too many things, and we volunteer a lot. Our relationship with the Lions Club is an intimate part of our relationship with the community.”
The couples been involved in the Boone County Special Olympics, served the boards of several nonprofits, worked with Zionsville Community Schools and helped community churches set up programs for special needs children.
In the past, the Agarwal family has participated in the VIP Night at the Fall Festival, a night for families of special needs children environment where kids can enjoy a traditional American carnival in a friendly environment.
“One of my sons has special needs and has gotten to enjoy the event, and the other has been able to be a buddy for other children,” Janice said. “As our son has grown up, we are taking on a volunteer role and helping put things together.”
When Janice got the call from the Lions Club to serve as grand marshals, she initially thought the club was going to ask her to put together a float for the parade.
“When they told us why they were calling, I was kind of floored and incredibly humbled,” Janice said. “I immediately called my husband because we do not think of ourselves as the VIPs of anything. We have never done something like this before. I guess I have to learn to wave.”
Janice said she and her husband want to use the grand marshal platform to raise awareness for Watch Us Farm and how it provides an important service to the community.
“I want us being grand marshals to be less about us and more about the fact that if Watch Us Farm can continue to grow, there will be more visibility for those with special needs,” Janice said. “I think people are starting to see us and our work, so if people learn about it from the parade, it would be the most awesome thing ever.”
The Agarwals look forward to their participation in one of Zionsville’s signature events.
“I just love our town and getting to know everyone,” Janice said. “I could live anywhere, but my kids grew up here, and all my friends are here. This is who we are and what we do. This town is our home.”
Zionsville Fall Festival Parade
When: 10 A.M Sept. 9
Where: Beginning at Zionsville Com- munity High School the parade will travel east then south on Mulberry Street to Ash Street where the pa- rade will continue east to Main and head south to Sycamore Street.
For more: zionsvillelions.com