Indianapolis NRI Sikhs among 50 Nationalities in the 500-Festival Parade
Indianapolis, May 30, 2016
Kanwal Prakash Singh
Color, pageantry, tradition, culture, and international spirit marked the 60th annual IPL 500 Festival Parade. Acclaimed high school and college marching bands, colorful floats, giant helium balloons, race car drivers, motorcycle riders, celebrities and dignitaries, banners, music, and spontaneous performances all added to the Festival theme of "Experiencing the Celebration." There were 300,000 cheering spectators along the two mile Parade route through Downtown Indianapolis and a nationally televised audience of several million.
The Parade was a riot of color and joyful pride; a display of community hospitality and vitality; tomorrow’s innovations today, promising spirit; and travel into the realms of sheer fun and imagination.
Once again, the Nationalities Council of Indiana (NCI) Parade Unit was led by the Chinese Lions and Dragon Dancers and colorful Ribbon Twirlers followed by nationality groups representing 50 countries. Participants were elegantly dressed in their native folk and ethnic dresses. Sikh men in turbans and kurtas and women dressed in brocaded silks; South Korean, Filipino, Romanian ladies in their embroidered costumes; and the Hawaiian and African ladies in their exotic festive costumes. Ladies from Ballet Folklorico Mosaicos were in stunning traditional dresses.
Groups from different countries and continents, who today make Indiana their home, added a beautiful cultural and international dimension to the Parade experience. Participants enjoyed learning about different cultures and making new friends at this year’s 60th 500-Festival Parade that preceded the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, the greatest spectacle in racing. There was added pageantry, excitement, and amazing attractions and celebrations at the 500 Festival Parade and the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and other events taking place during the Indiana's Bicentennial as a State.
Reflecting on the experience and the promise
Such events are all about civic engagement as our blessings and pride in our City and Nation; celebrating our heritage and our shared humanity. Of course, it is especially fun and exciting being at a family-friendly, magical event!
It was an honor for Sikh Americans and 50 other ethnic and cultural groups to participate in the Nationalities Council of Indiana, Inc. Parade Unit in the 2016 IPL 500 Festival Parade. Such interfacing of new immigrants and with fellow Americans is important to create greater understanding and respect for the rich diversity that today is part of the global landscape. Mainstreaming and civic engagement are the critical steps to dispelling stereotypes, developing a sense of appreciation, and creating common visions and worthy initiatives for collective benefits.
The 500-Festival Parade is organized by the 500 Festival, Inc.; the NCI Unit is organized by the Nationalities Council of Indiana and the nationality groups are organized by leaders of each ethnic and cultural group.Indianapolis, Indiana USA, www.KPSinghDesigns.com.