By Suresh Bodiwala
CHICAGO: Over 1,600 people came to enjoy as the Betalish Gham KPS, Chicago, celebrated its first-ever picnic on Sunday at the Busse Woods Park in Elk Grove Village.
Over a dozen volunteers from the Youth 42 group – the organization’s youth arm focused on those 18 to 35 years old – registered over 1600 people for the event.
The hot summer sun did not dampen the spirits of picnickers. All of the activities and food were sponsored by members of the organization, allowing the picnic to be completely free to attendees. This is the true strength of this group of individuals – the ability to put together whatever is needed to make sure the greater good is achieved.
The food was abundant – grilled corn on the cob, ripe watermelon, kichu and gota as appetizers. The lunch/dinner began with made to order Dosas from Schaumburg’s Sankalp restaurant – and infamous restaurant in Ahmedabad.
Along side theses came Pav Bhaji, Biryani and Gulab Jamun for dessert. For those young at heart snow cones and cotton candy were provided.
A raffle was organized to put a competitive edge to the day giving away laptops, tablets and Flat TVs.
Children of all ages had plenty to do. For the youngest, there was inflatable slides rented locally.
Volleyball, the Indian game of Kho, Cricket matches, and Garba were arranged for some of the adults.
The Youth 42 group played field day events with the young adults – water balloon toss, lemon race, three-legged race, and more.
Set up two years ago, the Betalish (42) Gham Samaj of Chicago brings together those Indian-Americans who trace their roots to Mehsana district of Gujarat.
Over the past two years, the organization has hosted a number of events – theatrical comedies, Garba, and now their first picnic.
Its next event will be our annual Garba in October 2013. This event was a huge success last year with over 2000 people in attendance. A live band will be present to give the audience the best experience of this favorite Gujarati event.
Its executive committee includes Devendra Patel (President), Dr. Paresh Patel (vice-president), kirit Patel (Secretary), Rasik Patel (treasurer), and Ashvin Patel ( joint-secretary).