Surrey’s Vaisakhi Day Parade draws record 400,000 people, say organizers

More than 350,000 attended last year's Surrey Vaisakhi Day Parade. A similar crowd is expected this year.

The largest Vaisakhi Day Parade outside of India took place Saturday in Surrey.

Organizers of the 19th annual Surrey Vaisakhi Day Parade and Surrey RCMP said a record 400,000 people showed up for one of the most important days of the year for the Sikh community.

Vaisakhi marks the Sikh new year and celebrates the start of Sikh order over three centuries ago. It also marks remembrance of Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur who was beheaded under Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb for refusing to convert to Islam and standing up for religious freedom in the 1600s.

The parade featured 19 floats representing Sikh schools, community groups, organizations and the Guru Granth Sahib — the Sikh holy scripture. Organizers said this year’s festivities were geared toward people from all cultures and backgrounds.

Liberal and NDP leaders Christy Clark and John Horgan also attended the festivities.

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Attendees at the event claimed buses were shuttling people to the event from as far away at Texas.

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