FRIENDSHIPS, FUN, ETHNIC AND CULTURAL PRIDE GATHERING
AT THE 2011 IPL 500 FESTIVAL PARADE
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Kanwal Prakash Singh
This year’s IPL 500 Festival Parade was a spectacular affair: fabulous bands, colorful floats, delightful balloons, equestrian and motorcycle units, antique cars, and a galaxy of celebrities including the 500 Festival Princesses, thirty-three race drivers, and racing and Hollywood legends. The 500 Festival organization once again invited the Nationalities Council of Indiana (NCI) to coordinate an international cultural unit for this year’s IPL 500 Festival Parade. It was a matter of great pride and excitement for the various nationalities and ethnic groups to participate in the nationally televised 54th annual IPL 500 Festival Parade in Downtown Indianapolis.
As in previous years, many nationalities and ethnic groups participated in the NCI Parade Unit including Native Americans, Sikhs, Chinese, Turkish, Irish, Germans, Scottish, Asian Indians, Hawaiians, Filipinos, South Koreans, Vietnamese, and many others. The representatives were colorfully dressed in their native and festive costumes. The 200-strong NCI Unit was led by a colorful Chinese dragon and included the Chinese lion dancers.
One could witness great pride, fun, and a spirit of friendship among the various participants as they were preparing for the Festival Parade to begin. Once the Parade began, it was a deeply moving experience to see the enthusiasm and excitement of the estimated 300,000 Parade spectators along the Parade route. The young children, many with digital cameras, were waving and Hoosiers and guests from around the world were smiling and clapping as the Chinese dragon, turbaned Sikhs, elegantly dressed South Korean and Hawaiian dancers, Filipinos, and other nationality groups moved along the nearly three mile route on a beautiful sunny afternoon.
Indianapolis has been opening new doors to the many ethnic, cultural, and faith communities over the past forty years under the leadership of the last five Mayors. The invitation to participate in the IPL 500 Festival Parade and a myriad of other opportunities is a welcome recognition of the growing diversity as an important and significant reality. Many enlightened minds in Indiana and the nation see immigrants as people with many innovative and fabled experiences; they represent a brave new pioneering spirit and intense pride to be Americans. Today, immigrants from many countries make Indianapolis their home, serve as leaders in many fields, and are contributing to the rich cultural and international spirit of Indiana.
This year’s Parade and other 500 festivities were a fabulous lead-in to the historic 100th running of the 500 Mile Race on May 29th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, expected to attract about 400,000 racing fans, including some from many countries, to enjoy the greatest spectacle in racing.