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

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

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

“This year’s procession featured twenty floats representing local Sikh schools, community groups and humanitarian organizations, as well as the main float in the procession carrying the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji,” said a press release from the organizers of the Surrey Vaisakhi- parade.

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

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

“As always, the festivities were propelled by the dedication of volunteers, who shine a light on the vibrant spirit and pride of the Sikh community while graciously sharing their heritage and history. Traditionally, the celebrations remained free for everyone,” the press release said.

Participation in the parade was open to all community groups, such as marching bands, school groups, cultural groups, community organizations, artists, organizations and many others.

Participants were asked to cover their heads and not smoke or drink during the event.

-With files from Tom Zillich