Pakistanis Shine at Irvine Global Village Festival
By Farrah Khan-Qureshi
On Saturday, October 1st, the City of Irvine sponsored the 10th Annual Irvine Global Village Festival. The festival is the city's largest and most popular event, featuring Cultural Exhibits, Community Partners, World Religions, Kids Village, Merchants, Food Courts and Entertainment. This event started off at the Lakeview Senior Center in Irvine many years ago. Several senior citizens would get together to celebrate the great diversity found in Irvine, eat wonderful food from around the globe and sing "We Are the World". Today, the festival is held at Col. Bill Barber Park with over 16,000 attendees.
This year was particularly exciting since many Pakistani groups and associations came together to show their unity, culture and philanthropic work. At the Cultural Exhibits area, the Irvine Pakistani Cultural Association, Pakistan Arts Council and the Irvine Pakistani Parents Association displayed a wide array of arts and crafts from Pakistan in a 30 foot booth. The items on display included tapestries, truck art, ceramics, wood work among many more. In addition, children attending the festival were encouraged to show their own creativity by taking part in the quilt-making activity. Over 50 children from various ethnicities and religious backgrounds participated in the quilt-making activity. The participants were encouraged to return and view the completed quilt, which will be on display at next year's festival.
The Kids' Village had plenty of mothers offering to write people's names in Urdu, another successful booth. Also at the Kids' Village were wedding dances performed by girls from the Pakistan Arts Council and bhangra mixes performed by the boys from Irvine Pakistani Cultural Association. The Community Partners area was also represented by Pakistan as Developments in Literacy (DIL) provided information regarding the education of children in Pakistan.
During the opening ceremony, it was refreshing to hear Mayor Sukhee Kang announce the presence of our representative from the Pakistan Consulate. Consul General Riffat Masood was out of town and could not attend. All in all, this is the type of positive and unified Pakistani representation that is much needed in today's world.