Vaisakhi parade in Kelowna this weekend

Vaisakhi is one of the most important events in the Sikh calendar, and celebrated by Sikh communities across the globe in April.

Kelowna’s Sikh community will bring long-held traditions to local streets this weekend in an outpouring rich in colour, sound and flavour, with the fifth annual  Vaisakhi Parade and Celebration.

Vaisakhi is one of the most important events in the Sikh calendar, and celebrated by Sikh communities across the globe in April.

It’s a time when farmers harvested their crops and celebrated the coming of a new year. It’s also an important day in the Sikh religious calendar—the day the Khalsa was created.

Locally, Vaisakhi is also significant as it’s come to mark a maturation and richness of this city’s cultural diversity.

Kelowna started its contribution to the global celebration in 2011 with Vaisakhi Day festivities, and Mayor Colin Basran said that its continual growth reflects how it’s brought the community closer together.

“This is more than a religious event,” he said.

“It’s cultural—you can watch the dancing, eat food and listen to music.”

It’s built a reputation for being a great celebration of community, and that makes him proud on two levels.

“One, on a community level, this brings us together and it promotes inclusion and acceptance,” he said.

“On a personal level, my grandparents were some of the founding members of the Sikh community and…it’s sad to me that they couldn’t see this.

“They would be so proud to see how the (Sikh) community is being embraced by fellow residents, and how the event has helped Kelowna to be a more inclusive place.”

The first Sikh temple was opened in Kelowna May 30, 1982, but the community has seen substantial growth since then. So much so a volunteer committee worked to begin construction on a new facility in 2004.

The new temple was open to the public on April 26, 2008.

The Okanagan Sikh Temple and Cultural Society’s fourth annual Vaisakhi Parade will be on Saturday, April 25.

Rolling road closures will be in effect from approximately 11:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. Times are approximate depending on the speed of the parade.

Rutland Road N. will be closed from McCurdy Road to Wallace Road starting at 11:45 a.m. and re-open at approximately 1 p.m.

Rolling closures will then continue along Wallace Road, Sycamore Road, Sumac Road, Friesen Road, McCurdy Road and Keyes Road to accommodate the parade.

McCurdy Road will be closed from Rutland Road to Craig Road from approximately 1:30 to 3 p.m.

Truck route closure signage will be posted on Highway 33 and Rutland Road.

Detour signs for motorists using Rutland Road as well as traffic control personnel will be visible along the affected residential streets. Motorists may experience minor disruptions and are advised to plan their routes accordingly to avoid delays.

Transit service will be detoured along Aldon Road. Visit bctransit.com under Kelowna for route and schedule information.

Street parking restrictions along Aldon will be in effect to accommodate transit as well along Rutland Road (Wallace to McCurdy Roads) to accommodate parade marshaling. For information about parking, road closures and potential delays, visit kelowna.ca/roadreport.

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