Surrey's annual Vaisakhi parade takes place Saturday

Surrey Vaisakhi parade to pack streets on Saturday

More than 250,000 people expected to celebrate faith, family and food.

This year’s annual Vaisakhi parade takes place Saturday, April 18 and organizers are hoping it will be another record-breaking event.

More than 250,000 people are expected to attend the Surrey event, the largest Vaisakhi celebration in the world outside of India.

The parade begins at approximately 9:30 a.m. and features music, dancing and floats representing schools, community groups and various organizations.

The most important float carries the Guru Granth Sahib the Sikh holy scripture.

The parade starts and finishes at the Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar (#115-12885 85 Ave.).

There will be temporary stages set up along the parade route where performances, special greetings and speeches will take place. And food, of course, will be plentiful as businesses and residents offer snacks, drinks and an array of hot and cold fare to visitors free of charge.

Attendees are asked to cover their heads and refrain from smoking or drinking at the event.

The Surrey RCMP is involved with the Vaisakhi parade not just for traffic control and public safety but to take part in the festivities as well.

“The Surrey RCMP is proud to participate in this yearly event that showcases the true diversity of our city,” said Surrey RCMP Community Services Officer Insp. Ghalib Bhayani.

In addition to an information booth with resources about programs and initiatives, RCMP officers will also be on-site wearing their traditional red serge. The public is invited to come by and take photos at 128 Street and 84 Avenue.

To accommodate the crowds, road closures will be in effect throughout the day. Roads between 72 and 88 Avenues, to 132 Street in the east and 123 Street in the west, will be closed from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. People attending the event are encouraged to take transit to avoid any gridlock.

Every year police responds to dozens of incidents of missing children at the Vaisakhi parade due to children becoming separated from their parents. All children in previous events were eventually reunited with their parents, however the Surrey RCMP reminds parents to have conversations with their children before attending Saturday’s events about what to do if they become separated.

Simple tips include:

Familiarize your children with their surroundings and have a pre-planned meeting place;

Equip your child with some form of identification and your contact information;

Point out the Surrey RCMP’s missing children’s tent and emergency services personnel;

Keep a current photo of your child on you in case you need to describe them to police;

Keep your child within eyesight at all times.

For more information about the parade, visit surreyvaisakhiparade.ca

Check out The Leader’s special Vaisakhi publication:

http://www.surreyleader.com/eeditions/?iid=i20150415082906868&pid=p20120309121148491