Photos by Boaz Joseph / The Leader
Despite overcast skies and periodic rain, a record number of people descended on Newton on the weekend to enjoy the city’s annual Vaisakhi parade.
Police are estimating between 350,000 and 375,000 people came to the Saturday event – one of the most important festivals on the Sikh calendar.
Vaisakhi marks the birth of the Sikh faith, the creation of the Khalsa and pays tribute to the start of the Punjabi harvest.
All faiths are not only welcomed, but encouraged, to participate.
Last year, an estimated 300,000 people attended.
Surrey RCMP reported no incidents of note at the huge event.
“This is probably the best one I’ve heard of, as far as security,” said Cpl. Scotty Schumann, adding it’s extremely impressive for a crowd that size.
The 18th annual event in Surrey included performances, live music and decorative floats.
Celebrations began at 9 a.m. at the Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar near 85 Avenue and 128 Street. The procession circled through Newton and returned to the gurdwara later on in the day.
The floats represented local Sikh schools, community groups, humanitarian organizations, as well as the main float, which carried the Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh holy scripture).
The event was run by volunteers and was free to all.
Surrey’s Vaisakhi parade is the largest Vaisakhi celebration outside of Punjab, India.
Planning is now under way for the 2017 celebration.