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Chicago, Feb. 01, 2011
R.S. Mago

: The Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago (PCS) collaborated with Chicago Children's Museum (CCM) at Navy Pier to organize the Passport to the World: India Festival Celebrations on May 15th, 2011. More than 300 community members participated.

“This is 11th year in a row that PCS has organized this event. PCS was on CCM’s original planning committee when they created this event eleven years ago, and has participated in it ever since,” said Rajinder Singh Mago of PCS who compeered the program inside the museum.

The PCS performances depicted a mosaic of diverse traditions from the Indian state of Punjab including ethnic dresses, Dhol music, and the Punjabi folk dances Bhangra and Gidha performed by the local Punjabi youth groups. Attendees also participated in turban tying, Bhangra dance lessons, and other Indian performing arts.

An outdoor procession planned for more than 200 participants with Dhol drums and street dancing at South deck of Navy Pier had to be moved inside due to an off-season drizzle, and windy conditions, but failed to dampen the spirits of the participants.

As the Punjabi procession entered into the Chicago Children’s Museum, the whole place drowned in the echo of the melodious sound beats of Punjabi Dhol drum played by Dilraj Sekhon and Pardeep Deol. It seemed as if a “Baraat” had arrived.

The visitors to the museum watched dance performances of children’s groups arranged by PCS Chicago. The dance items were coordinated by Pardeep Deol, Sukhwinder Kaur, and Sukhvir Kaur Dhillon. Bhangra 101 dance lessons to young children and parents, and a turban tying demonstration and workshop for all visitors were also conducted by PCS volunteers. Many other performances by other groups were also held during the week long celebrations.
PCS Chicago and the Chicago Children’s Museum had arranged four buses, three from Palatine, IL and one bus from Devon & Western Streets Chicago to usher community members to Navy Pier, at no cost to the community members. The Chicago Children’s Museum provided a complimentary $12 value admission to the community members brought in by PCS.
“Passport to the World is designed to expose children to a variety of cultures from different parts of the world. This program was about India. This provides a unique opportunity to the visitors to learn directly from the communities rather than us. This imparts authenticity and meaning to the programs. It would not be possible without the close partnership of communities and organizations like PCS Chicago. The museum values this partnership and the visitors love it,” said Keith McCormick, CCM’s Director of Cultural Programs who has directed this program for the last nine years.
"This is an excellent opportunity to share our fine culture with the mainstream children to create awareness about our community and build relationships for the future," said Dr. Amarjit Singh, the PCS Chairperson.

“Children’s Museum provides us such a cordial and welcoming environment, that it’s a wonderful experience for our children, their moms, dads, and grandparents. They look forward to it every year. They come for an outing, enjoy seeing our children perform in the mainstream, and also enjoy the other tourist activities taking place at Navy Pier,” said Balwinder Singh Girn, President of the Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago.

The event was organized by Balwinder Singh Girn, Gurmit Singh Dhillon, Baljit Singh Sidhu, Parminder Singh Ghotra. Surinder Singh Sangha, Pardeep Singh Deol, Avind Gakhal, Jay Sangha, Thakar Singh Basati, Sunny Kular, Ronny Kular, Amarjit Kaur Atwal, Sukhmel Singh Atwal, Bhinder Singh Pamma, Yadwinder Singh Grewal, Onkar Singh Sangha, Paul Lail, Jasbir Palia, Lakhwant Singh Komal, Mohinderjit Singh Saini, Rajinder Singh Mago and many other community volunteers.

The next PCS Chicago program is to award $ 1000 scholarships at “PCS Youth Graduation & Scholarship Awards Night,” on Sunday June 12, 2011 starting at 5 pm, at Viceroy of India Banquets in Lombard, IL. The participants of “Rangla Punjab 2011” will also be honored and the “Rangla Punjab 2011” program DVDs will be available for sale.
The “PCS Basketball Tournament” is on Saturday August 6, 2011, and the “PCS Sports Festival” is on Sunday August 7, 2011. Both are all day events at Centennial Park in Addison IL, and are free and open to public.

The Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago is a volunteer not-for-profit community service organization devoted to promoting the Punjabi culture, language, performing arts, healthy life style and sports, education, and good citizenship in the metropolitan Chicago area.