Center for Interfaith Cooperation

Hoosiers of Many Faiths in Community

500 Festival: Cultures, celebrities, traditions on parade

The 500-Festival Parade was a colorful and festive spectacle of 33 princess; legends and celebrities; 16 mythical giant helium balloons; several beautiful themed floats (2015 Theme: “Celebrating the Stories of May”); 15 marching bands from across the Nation; 33 Race Drivers, with their families and significant friends in the official Pace Cars, qualified to start the 99th running of the 500-Mile Race, “the greatest spectacle in auto racing” in the world. In addition, patriotic units, costumed characters, and specialty units were part of the Parade. Over 300,000 cheering spectators showing their exuberant spirit and appreciation along the 2.4 mile Parade route through Downtown Indianapolis.

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indy 500 5The Nationalities Council of Indiana (NCI) was invited by the 500 Festival to participate in the Parade. The NCI Parade Unit, a gathering of friends from 50 nations, added colorful cultural highlights with native, festive, and traditional costumes. The young Chinese dancers, the giant Chinese Dragons and Lions led the NCI Parade Unit. The occasion and Indiana were blessed with picture-perfect weather. Festive spirits were everywhere.

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Indiana today is a rich tapestry of faiths, cultures, and ethnic communities thanks to our Hoosier friends who welcomed and guided us as we made Indianapolis and this great Nation our home. The generosity of civic and interfaith leaders, business and educational institutions, and neighbors have made it possible for diverse nationality groups to flourish, mainstream their cultures and experiences, talents and dreams to build a promising future. As the new young pioneers from distant lands, we have proudly stepped forward with our heart and spirit, welcomed this blessing and are committed to learning and earning our place in the fabric of communities that are our home.

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We are grateful to the Nationalities Council of Indiana and The 500-Festival for the honor of being part of this celebrated IPL 500-Festival Parade, nationally-televised and the third largest parade in the Nation. There were 9 members of the central Indiana Sikh community in the Parade – Amandeep Sidhu, Baljit Oberoi, Chirjeev Oberoi, Dinny Sandhu, Narvinder Bhola, Navjot Mehta, Sukhvinder Mehta, Jasvir Lalli, and KP Singh. In the attached photographic gallery: Enjoy the beautiful pageantry, the riot of colors and friendly spirit in the 500 Festival Parade; just imagine the music and fun, excitement and exuberant cheers!

 

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This is a historic opportunity for The 500 Festival to showcase the cultures and international spirit of central Indiana. It is exciting and wonderful for the different nationality and ethnic groups to make new friends, interface with each other, and develop a sense of belonging. In the last five decades, Indianapolis has made remarkable strides to become a welcome destination for new talents and ideas, in its international outreach and recognition of diversity in its myriad manifestations as the new frontier of future opportunities. For the State, it is a beautiful way to enhance understanding about the many unique cultures, faiths, and communities that live among us; enrich the cultural, spiritual, humanitarian fabric of our State and Nation. We can only imagine the new rewards that may come with the seamless integration of amazing new pioneers and their assets to further our common visions and collective promise as One Nation.

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