SURREY (NEWS1130) – The streets of Surrey were packed with more than 200,000 revelers celebrating Vaisakhi on Saturday.

Many in the record-breaking crowd took advantage of the beautiful weather to spend a day at the festival with family.

People celebrating Vaisakhi are marking the origins of the Sikh religion and using it as an occasion to gather with friends and loved ones.

“What’s important for me is that I get to hang out with my family. We barely see each other because of school so it’s a great time for us to have a great time and celebrate the culture,” says Sonia Nirwan.

Others attending the festival came to be reminded of an important message.

“Live a good and healthy life as it will start to inspire our gurus,” says Prabhdeep Toor. “We’re celebrating, its love.”

The parade coincides with a festival of  music, dance, and of course lots of free food offered symbolically to ensure no one goes hungry.

Surrey RCMP took no chances with security at this year’s event as extra officers were on hand to deal with the massive crowd. In years past, extremists used the parade to further their message with floats and leaflets supporting groups considered terrorists by the Canadian government.

Cpl. Drew Grainger is confident any earlier controversies with the parade are a thing of the past.

“Some of the images depicted on the floats could have been deemed as profiling people within the culture who might have been terrorists. Or some of the images might have been portrayed on the floats that might have been grotesque or inciting hatred. All of those things of course are illegal,” he says.

One expert says the recent success of the parade proves it has left its controversial past behind.

“Clearly it’s in the best interest of the parade organizers to make sure the parade agenda is not compromised,” explains SFU Marketing professor Lindsay Meredith. “That is a very strong PR tool for the Indo-Canadian community. They would be crazy to let a minority of idiots hijack the agenda and turn it into their own violent demonstration.”

Surrey’s parade is the largest of its kind outside of India.