Trolley driver Ron Cooke waves from atop a life-size decorative elephant

Trolley driver Ron Cooke waves from atop a life-size decorative elephant

Inclusive Diwali attracts huge crowds to White Rock

20,000-plus people drawn to inaugural event on White Rock waterfront.

The success of Saturday’s Diwali Integration Festival, held on White Rock’s waterfront, bodes well for the event’s future, officials say.

It’s estimated the festival, presented from noon till 8 p.m. by the Sanatan Cultural Society of B.C. and the city, drew 20,000 to 25,000 people to the beach over the course of the day.

“I think it has huge potential,” Eric Stepura, the city’s director of leisure services, said Monday.

“It was a very large crowd and a very… warm crowd. Lots of whole families coming down to enjoy it – three, four generations of people.”

The festival included live music, traditional dances, food trucks, a vendor marketplace, a life-size decorative elephant and fireworks.

White Rock Diwali festivalSanatan Cultural Society president Vivek Vasistha said the success was due to support from “so many organizations and it provided opportunity to all of us (to) learn about others and their cultures… We can build better communities by understanding better what others believe in, and this was the perfect occasion for that.”

Event chair Moti Bali said 10 cultural organizations were represented.

“This is the first time ever in the history of Canada that such an event of this magnitude has been held,” Bali said. “It was a festival of all the communities and all the cultures.”

Stepura noted that historically, Diwali – “the festival of lights” – is celebrated around the world by people whose family heritage is from India.

“In this case… they wanted to do something different. I think that really added to the success of the event,” he said.

Stepura and Bali are confident it will be “bigger and better” next year.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

News Bulletin file photo
Surrey waives outdoor patio fees for pubs, restaurants

Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade, praised the move

(file photo)
Racial comments directed at child at Surrey grocery store, police say

Investigation ‘ongoing as officers work on gathering additional evidence’

Surrey RCMP are seeking the public's help to locate three puppies stolen from a South Surrey home on April 10. (Surrey RCMP photos)
UPDATE: One of three puppies stolen from South Surrey recovered

American Bulldog puppy recovered after being sold at Mission car show

Cruise for Your Cause is scheduled for April 24. (Contributed photo)
Cruise For Your Cause to benefit Sources food bank

Car enthusiasts set to cruise through South Surrey and White Rock on April 24

The City of White Rock will save on two delayed watermains projects. (File photo)
White Rock council expected to approve watermain upgrades

Projects target corrosion and leaks on Stevens, Chestnut streets

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A plane is seen through the window on the tarmac of Vancouver International Airport as the waiting room is empty. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
100+ international travellers who landed in B.C. refused to quarantine

The Public Health Agency of Canada says it issued $3,000 violation tickets to each

A health-care worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
PHAC receives first report of blood clot linked to AstraZeneca

The federal agency says the person is now recovering at home

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward
1 in 3 young Canadians have given up on owning a home: poll

Data released Monday says 36% of adults younger than 40 have given up on home ownership entirely

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. urges people to stay in their neighbourhoods, discourages out-of-household meet-ups

Dr. Bonnie Henry says there should be no travel, even to the next city over

Looking east at the Cascade Range with the potential Alpine Village site in the foreground. Mt. Archibald rises on the left.
Ambitious all-season mountain resort proposed near Chilliwack

Proponents say Bridal Veil Mountain Resort could cover 11,500 acres bring in $252 million a year

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Most Canadians plan to get COVID-19 vaccine, but safety fears drive hesitancy: poll

This comes as confidence in governments is plummeting in provinces being hit hardest by the pandemic

Cemetery staff installed the wrong headstone on the grave of Jima Kiir, even though the headstone’s photo did not match with the photo placed on the grave. (Submitted photo)
Abbotsford mother upset city placed wrong headstone on son’s grave

Cemetery staff mix up graves of 2 recently deceased men from South Sudanese community

Most Read