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Vaisakhi ‘spirit and pride’ in Newton as 550,000 fill streets for parade

Hundreds of booths lined the route as businesses and families hand out food

Hundreds of thousands of people flooded the streets of Newton Saturday to take part in the Vaisakhi Parade, or nagar kirtan.

Organizers said over 550,000 guests attended the annual Khalsa Day event, which started at around 9 a.m. at Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar Temple, 12885 85 Ave, and travelled along 124 Street to 75 Avenue, along 76 Avenue and then on 128 Street before returning to the temple later in the day.

“This year’s procession featured 20 floats representing local Sikh schools, community groups, humanitarian organizations, as well as the most important float in the procession that carries the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji,” reads a release from Surrey Vaisakhi parade organizers.

Hundreds of booths line the route as businesses and families hand out food and treats to parade-goers.

“As ever, the festivities were propelled by the dedication of volunteers, shining a light on the vibrant spirit and pride of the Sikh community as they graciously share their heritage and history. True to tradition, the celebrations remained accessible to all, free of charge,” reads the release.

At one point Saturday afternoon, police received a report of a hazardous situation near Anvil Way and 128 Street along the route of the parade. A scissor lift parked on private property made contact with some wires. First-responders cleared the parade crowd from the area around the hazard, until BC Hydro crews attended. There were no injuries reported.

“Out of an abundance of caution,” the Surrey RCMP stated in a news release, “and in co-ordination with parade organizers, the parade was halted and the crowd safely dispersed leading up to the conclusion of the event.”

READ MORE: Food free for all at Surrey’s Vaisakhi parade on Saturday, April 20

Parade entry was open to any community groups, such as marching bands, school groups, cultural-groups, community organizations, performers, organizations and many others.

Participants were requested to cover their heads, and not to smoke or drink at the event.

-With files from Tom Zillich

Anna Burns

About the Author: Anna Burns

I cover health care, non-profits and social issues-related topics for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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