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By KOMAL UTSAV JAGAD
Thousands took to the streets on May 26 as part of the Blacktown City Festival – Streets Alive and Parade Day, a fitting conclusion to the week-long event held from May 19-26. This event is the biggest of the year for the city that is organised by the Blacktown City Council, delivering a diverse range of events and performances for residents and visitors. It is now a huge platform for enhancing the image of Australia as a multicultural nation.
Said Mayor of Blacktown City, Councillor Alan Pendleton, “The Blacktown City Festival is one of the largest community celebrations in Western Sydney . It draws amazing crowds.” Over 70,000 people from 50 different countries participated in the kilometre long parade which, as promised, was a remarkably spectacular display of colours, cultures and excitement with clowns, floats and marching bands.
Featuring over 300 street stalls, 7 performance stages, amusement rides, gourmet food stalls, electrifying displays and heaps of other attractions, the parade was an extraordinary way to end the BCF. Speaking of colours, bands, food stalls, parade… how can us Indians stay aloof from this kind of an event? It’s more like a wedding baraat, essentially without the ghodi and the dulha, but with the parade, band, food and masti!
The Panjabi Sangeet Centre (PSC) jointly with the Australian Sikh Association under coordination from Mr Harkirat Sandhar and Dr Surinder Singh, presented a slice of Indian culture to represent the country amidst various other cultures. Everyone rallied on the streets of Blacktown for the parade which started at the Warrick Lane Car Park at 11am sharp.
“Over 200 Indians joined in with other cultures, driving home the message that the parade was intended to strengthen bonds between Indians and other nations, especially Australia,” said Mr Sandhar, President of PSC. People heartily waved their arms to the enticing tunes of the dhol, while Punjabi bhangra and gidha performed with colourful pots and sticks as props made a vivid picture in the parade.
Folk and fusion bhangra performance by Raju from Rooh Punjab Di brought to Blacktown the traditional colours of Punjab . Devinder Singh Dharia, Founder and Director of PSC presented a Punjabi folk song and Sukhman Kaur presented a beautiful dance number.
All the attendees had the opportunity to shop for knick-knacks, handcrafted jewellery, showbags and taste a world of flavours from many different food stalls. Indian gourmet food included our very own chaat, south Indian and Punjabi dishes like samosa, dahi bhalla, dosa, masala chai, chola bhatura, bhel puri and biryani. Other food stalls that were popular sold an array of sushi, wraps, canapés, burgers, pizza, among others.
The limelight of the event was a performance from very special guests Josh, Nate and Andi from Young Mens Society, one of the top 8 performers from the X Factor 2011. Said Nate Tamati, “We’re excited to perform here!”, and the audience enthusiastically shared in their excitement. They performed their debut single We Own the Night, and as fans demanded the usual ritual of getting a scribble on parchment, they happily obliged.
The Parade Day has set an example with its futuristic outlook of global union by welcoming all cultures to come together and personify unity in diversity. It has helped push Australia a step ahead, enhancing the theme of multiculturalism in this wonderful nation through an array of bright, colourful and beautiful entertainment. Kudos to the Blacktown City Council for a wonderful effort and spectacular show!