Canada: Toronto Divine Land Marching Band a Big Hit at the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Day Parade (Photos)

(Clearwisdom.net) The 43rd annual Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Day Parade stepped off early in the morning of October 10, 2011. Established in 1969, the parade is now the largest Thanksgiving Day Parade in Canada and the Oktoberfest celebration is the largest Bavarian event in North America. With prizing-winning bands from the United States and Canada, as well as colorfully-decorated floats, the parade attracts 200,000 spectators from many areas of North America, who packed the 5-km-long route. Besides the spectators along the parade route, there was a large TV audience as CTV (Canadian TV) broadcast the parade live to the whole country.

The Divine Land Marching Band from Toronto, Canada

The Divine Land Marching Band of Toronto was the only Chinese-based marching band invited to the event. The band has participated in the event for four years and once again brought a sense of happiness and serenity to the parade.

Mark Kreller, Executive Director of the Oktoberfest, praised the band for its skill, style, discipline and uniforms. Mr. Kreller said that he is well aware that the members of the band are all Falun Gong practitioners, and he knows that Falun Gong is still being persecuted in China. He is happy that they can enjoy freedom of belief in the nation of Canada. “It is great to have them participate in the parade and become a part of the Oktoberfest,” he said.

Mark Kreller, Executive Director of the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest

Former Chair of the Oktoberfest, Mr. Paul Buttinger had been with the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest for 28 years. He used three words to describe the Toronto Divine Land Marching Band: “Entertaining, uplifting and terrific!” He said that he had seen the band many times at various events and was very happy to see them again at the festival.

Chinese People Enjoy and Support the Divine Land Marching Band

Ms. Meng is from Beijing. As the band was marching past the main platform, she waved to the reporter and grasped the reporter's hand. “I am a Christian. I respect Falun Gong. They are truly great and are making a big contribution to the world. They are of high virtue,” she exclaimed. “Please relay my congratulations to them. God bless them, and they will win in the end!”

Ms. Chen is from Wuhan and has been in Canada for four years. “I read the Epoch Times newspaper every week. I have learned a lot about Falun Gong. I am excited to see them here.”

Also from Beijing, Ms. Mu said that she has been in Canada for less than a year but has seen the band two times already. “Such a grand scale and exciting (band), ” she said, “You could only see this outside of China. I am happy that they have freedom in a foreign country.”

Another couple from Beijing brought their one-year-old twin daughters to the parade. They applauded excitedly and the wife pulled the reporter's hand close like a dear friend and said, “We are so happy to see them. I hope to see them every year. It is spectacular.”

Mr. Wang and Ms. Lu from Liaoning Province came with their friend Ms. Yang, who is from Xiamen City in Fujian Province. Ms. Lu said that this was her first encounter with the Divine Land Marching Band. “Very impressive and it is really great,” she said.

Their friend Ms. Yang had seen the band once before. “I saw the band last year in the parade,” she said. “I've seen them at other events too. Certainly, a good thing should be promoted everywhere!”

Mr. Wang said, “Seeing them [Falun Gong practitioners] live in freedom in a foreign country, I am truly happy for them. Such a beautiful thing. I don't understand why the Communist Party wants to persecute them. They are just being good people and doing their exercises. What's wrong with that?”

The Best Thanksgiving Gift

As the band arrived at the end of the parade, there was a Chinese lady watching them from a distance and it appeared that didn't want to leave. After she received a promise to keep her anonymity, the woman talked to a reporter. “Since 9 a.m. this morning, I have followed the band from the beginning of the parade to the end,” she said, her eyes brimming with tears. “I came to Canada a few months ago to study. You can't see Falun Gong practitioners in a parade like this in China. I saw them and was very excited. I had been longing for this because my mother is a Falun Dafa practitioner. She recovered from cancer after practicing the exercises. I believe in the miraculous power of Falun Gong. I want to find out about the local group practice site.”

When she received a slip of paper with the local Falun Gong contact, the woman said that it was the best Thanksgiving gift and she repeatedly expressed her thanks.

Praise for Falun Gong

Ms. Som is a Chinese-Laotian who brought her whole family to the parade. “I bring them to the parade every year to feel the happiness of the festival. Over these past years, I am always happy to see this Chinese band. The kids like them too. We are all Chinese,” she said.

Mr. Alai from Burma and his wife Jijan brought their two children to watch the parade. Alai said it was a beautiful experience and the band was impressive. “To me, this is a Thanksgiving gift too,” he said.

Maria is a resident of Waterloo, “I love it! The best was when they played 'The Maple Leaf Forever'! Many thanks to them and happy Thanksgiving!

Bill, a resident from Kitchener, said, “I like their ancient-style uniforms and beautiful music. Very enjoyable.” He added, “They performed very well. It's beautiful.”

Natalia and her friend and their families came to watch the parade. She was happy to see the cultural diversity among the various bands. “The kids love it, and we thank them,” she said.

Posting date: 10/16/2011
Category: Community Events
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