Yuba City Festival Success

Organized by the Punjabi American Heritage Society, the festival was established to celebrate Punjabi culture. Mrs....

YUBA CITY: Thousands of Americans of all backgrounds joined in the celebration of the 20th annual International Punjabi American Festival (mela) here on Sunday. The Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds, the venue of this Punjabi mela, was turned into a mini-Punjab as crowds listened to a top-notch Punjabi singer and savored delicious Punjabi delicacies on a bright, sunny day. The audience included not only people from California, but also from rest of the United States. At least 70% of the audience comprised of women and children, making it a true family event.

Organized by the Punjabi American Heritage Society, the festival was established to celebrate Punjabi culture, food and talent and to share it with the whole community. The purpose is to promote cross cultural friendship among all Americans, and spread the awareness on Punjabi culture and traditions.

The festival started around 12 PM, one hour behind the scheduled start time of 11 am, as the sound engineer of the main artist arrived late on the site. However, Babbu Maan made up for this late start by giving a superb performance, matching the quality he maintains in his live concerts. The festival went on its full sway till 8:30 PM. An exceptionally hot day for the season did not dull the excitement and the enthusiasms of the audience, who savored the musical talent of one of their favorite singers.

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Audience enjoying the performance of Babbu Maan

In addition to the splendid stage performance by Babbu Maan, top North American teams performed Bhangra (dynamic, ancient folk dance) and Giddha (dance performed by women, creatively displaying feminine grace and elegance). The festival gave young Punjabi-American children a platform to express themselves in these traditional dance forms of Punjab.

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Punjabi kids performing Bhangra


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Punjabi girls performed Giddha


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Giddha team was honored by Mr. Harvinder Riar

One of the main attraction of the festival was a documentary on Dalip Singh Saund, the inspiring story of an ethical and passionate man who rose above racism and prejudice to become the first Asian, the first Indian, and the first Sikh to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He is known for his campaign to allow "Sikhs and Hindus", as all people of South Asian descent were called at that time, to become naturalized citizens. Local school teachers were given free admission to the event to encourage them to enhance their understanding of the history and traditions Punjabi community.

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Punjabi American Heritage Society's members and supporters honoring the producer and director of the documentary, Samantha Cheng

Among the participants in the festival were prominent local politician, including Congressman John Garamendi, Assemblyman Dan Logue, District Supervisors, City Councilmen, and other political candidates. Over 50 booths offered Punjabi specialty crafts, jewelry and clothing, and plenty of activities for children.

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Assemblyman Dan Logue presented a Certificate of Recognition to PAHS for its services in the community


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Congressman John Garamendi addressing the audience

Mr. Harvinder Riar from Jus Punjabi TV Channel was given a special honor for demonstrating excellence in journalism in his TV program "Ajj Da Mudda". He came all the way from New York to participate in the festival.

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Mr. Harvinder Riar of "Ajj Da Mudda" on Jus Punjabi was given special honor

Following Society's annual tradition of rewarding local students for academic excellence, five high school students from the community were awarded cash scholarships. Mrs. Narinder Kaur Dhillon (ensaaf.org), sister of late Kuljit Dhatt (from Shahid Bhagat Singh's family), struck an emotional chord with the audience when she talked about her perspective on Human Rights in Punjab.

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Scholarships were given to students for demonstrating academic excellence

The 20th Punjabi festival was well covered by Indian and American media. The president of PAHS, Mr. Satnam Tatla, and the founding member of the Society, Dr. Jasbir Kang, expressed sincere appreciation and gratitude to everyone who participated in the festival and made it a huge success.

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Babbu Maan being honored by PAHS president, Mr. Satnam Tatla

- Report by: Aman Azad   (For more photos of the event please click here)

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