Sikh contingent wins “Best Overall” prize among 72 entries at July 4th parade in Palatine, Illinois

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The Sikh contingent at the Palatine Annual Parade for July 4th, held on July 2, 2022, in Palatine, Illinois. Photo: Sikh Religious Society

Colorful turbans, festive clothes and a joyful float were the hallmark of the contingent fielded by the Sikh Religious Society (SRS) Palatine in the Annual Palatine Parade held July 2, 2022 in this suburb of Chicago, Illinois. It was what won them the ‘Best Overall’ prize, one of several the organization has received over the years.

Apart from the Indian-American entry by the Sikh contingent, the parade had a total of 72 entries from groups such as school children, civic organizations, marching bands, professional entertainment, local businesses, local government officials, Fire Department, Police Department and other village entities, and elected officials. So the competition was stiff.

The float of the Sikh Religious Society at the Palatine, Illinois Annual Fourth of July Parade held July 2, 2022. Photo: Sikh Religious Society.

The parade led off with a large contingent of police vehicles and officers, followed by fire equipment, and many political candidates running for state, local and national office. Despite the sweltering heat, enthusiastic crowds of people dressed in red, white and blue colors lined the streets along the parade route in great numbers to celebrate the day for the first time in three years. The parade was also broadcast on the local Comcast TV channel.

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The 65th annual parade was part of the Hometown Festival held in Palatine from June 30 to July 4, 2022, organized by the Palatine Jaycees to celebrate Fourth of July Independence Day.

Children were part of the Sikh Religious Society contingent at the Annual Fouth of July event in Palatine, Illinois. Photo: Sikh Religious Society

The village of Palatine boasts one of the oldest gurdwaras in the Midwest, operating since 1979.

The Sikh Religious Society is a regular participant in the annual  parade and has received several awards over the years.

“This year was no different,” organizers said in a press release. Again, the Sikh contingent was judged the “Best Overall” out of 72 entries.

The five-day Hometown Festival was held at Palatine’s Community Park and festivities included live bands, food vendors, carnival, business expo and craft fair, Family Day, fireworks and many other family activities.

Women on the float at the Palatine, Illinois Annual Parade for July 4thf, held July 2, 2022. Photo: Sikh Religious Society

Sikh American men, women and children affiliated with Palatine Gurdwara marched alongside their float decorated in patriotic colors, banners and flags. A “Nagaara” drum was set up on the float and played sounding its unique beats all through the parade. Several Sikh children were dressed up in armed forces uniforms. The Sikhs distributed free ice-cold bottled water and bags of candy to the spectators all along the parade route. An informational pamphlet “Basics of Sikhi” was also shared given out. “Over the years the Palatine spectators have come to love the Sikh’s participation in the parade,” organizers said in the press release.

The Sikh Religious Society President Jairam Singh Kahlon thanked volunteers for their team work in putting the parade entry together. Float entry coordinator Rajinder Singh Mago said the participation celebrated America’s Independence Day, but also displayed the Sikh heritage and culture. “It’s a great opportunity to create awareness about Sikhs,” Mago added.

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