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11th Punjabi-American Festival a grand success


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    Punjabi festival medal

    The 11th annual festival organized by Punjabi American Heritage Society (Nonprofit) Yuba City on May 29, 2005 successfully concluded at the Yuba Sutter fairgrounds.

    Crowd of all ages

    An enormous turnout of spectators of all ages and ethnic backgrounds made it clear that people do have deep respect and interest in the Punjabi culture. They traveled from far off places to participate in the festival , the largest cultural festival of its kind in the United States and the favorite of the local community has now achieved the status of an international event.

    The Festival started at 11:10 with the US National Anthem (Star Spangled Banner) performed by Keerath Kaur on flute, followed by a prayer (Shabad-devotional song) by Yuba City children.

    Dr. Anmol Singh Mahal

    Jagjit Singh from Los Angles with Sherrif (Sutter county) Jim Denny

    Sodhi family honored

    Jassi Sidhu PAF

    Kimmi Verma in full swing

    Punjabi Festival Lember Singh

    Malwai Gidda of Yuba City

    Stacey Miller and David Washburn worked on California Sikh history exhibit project under guidance of Davinder Kaur Deol , being honored by Mrs Deol and Dr Kang at Punjabi American festival

    Yuba City Ladies Gidda

    ‘Rounak Punjab Di’, ‘Saada Virsa’, ‘Aaja Nachie’, ‘Koonjan Punjab Deyan’, ‘Dhadkan Punjab Di’ teams wonderfully performed Punjabi folk dances ‘Gidha’, ‘Bhangra’ and Sammie. Dressed in colorful attires, teams from Walnut Creek did an awesome dance performance. Gidha and Bhangra youth teams from Yuba City area were even better.

    Davinder Deol, Ruby Deol and Sukhi Bains wonderfully coordinated the stage activities both in Punjabi and English languages, making it easier for all spectators.

    A teenager form Milpitas trained in classical dance, Jasjeet Saini , took the festival on to new heights with her excellent Kathak performance to a beautiful Punjabi song.

    People enjoyed the partly cloudy day. Festival organizer arranged water and other beverages at two spots, which helped people to fight the heat to a great level. Pre-set rate of all food items were greatly appreciated and people took advantage of it and enjoyed a vast variety of South Asian cuisine and goodies. Cleaning crew was constantly working to keep the area neat.

    Organizers presented beautiful medals to all participants. About 300 students ranging in age from age 3 to 50 took part in the stage performance and demonstrated their enthusiasm in their culture and heritage. Malika (Empress) of stage, Aasha Sharma took control of the stage in the afternoon and people enjoyed her great talent of being a very effective commentator.

    Directed by Ali Kazimi, documentary Continuous Journey attracted a large crowd. The first animated movie of its kind about the sacrifice and valor of ‘Sahibzadey’ and an exhibition of Sikh migration to the Yuba-Sutter area were also major attractions at the festival.

    During this festiva, PAHS honored many personalities for their outstanding community work. John Studdart (for teaching citizenship test to countless Punjabis), Sheriff Jagjit Singh (First Sikh police officer with turban from Los Angles), Gurmustukh Singh & Joginder Singh (from, Dr. Gulzar Singh Johl (excellent services for local community-he is here since 1948), Sodhi family from Phoenix (victim of post 9/11 hatred and violence, whose two brothers Balbir and Sukhpal were shot to dead just for their appearence ), Bill Simon, Dr. Anmol Singh Mahal (President of California Medical Association), Richard Wilbur (first farmer to hire South Asians in Yuba/Sutter counties), Ali Kazimi (Producer /Director of documentary ‘Continuous Journey’), David Washburn & Stacy Miller (creator of exhibit on Sikh history on California), Sukhwinder Singh of Vismaad from Singapore (Producer of first animated movie of its kind), Steve Perry (director of local museum) were some of distinguished personalities which were honored and recognized by PAHS for their services to the community.

    Jasvir Singh Gill, Ruby Deol and their team presented a comedy skit ‘Katian-Mithian’ (sweet and sour). Favorite artist of younger generation, Jassi Sidhu from UK performed at 4:30 PM. He made the entire crowd dance to his thrilling music.

    Famous Punjabi film actress Kimmi Verma followed Jassi Sidhu. Wonderful performance by Kimmi, she was able connect and win the respect of senior generation.

    Famous Punjabi singer Lehmber Hussainpuri from Punjab was the major guest artist at the festival. Lehmber has given many hit songs to the Punjabi audience. It seemed like the entire festival was dancing with Lehmber when he performed some of his hit numbers. Youngsters as well as elders were thrilled to see Lehmber in live performance.

    With the hope of even better and more vibrant festival next year, 11th annual Punjabi American festival finished at about quarter to nine.

    A drive for south Asian bone marrow donors was extremely successful. There were more than fifty booths at this festival.

    PAHS spends the funds raised from the festival on the constructive projects in the local community. PAHS president Mrs. Siri Pritam Kaur Khalsa said that PAHS is committed to promote Punjabi heritage, and serve the local community. She thanked to the supporters, sponsors and friends who helped to have such a wonderful and successful festival. Punjabi festival was covered by Fox and ABC news, Sacramento Bee and Appeal Democrat in additional to international Punjabi and English media

    Siri Pritam Kaur Khalsa addressing a crowd of many thousand Punjabis at eleventh Punjabi American festival. Recently there was discussion on Sikhnet about Punjabi vs. non Punjabi Sikhs. Mrs. Khalsa is a German American Sikh and a President of largest Punjabi American Society of USA. She being and Woman and non Punjabi becoming a leader of this organization is a great example in it self about acceptability (and affection) of Khalsa Sikhs by average Punjabis.

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