Many participating dancers from different ethnic traditions took the opportunity to pose for photos beside a popular elephant statue display at last year's White Rock Festival of Lights: Diwali Integration event.

A symbol of peace and goodness in White Rock

Diwali festival brings multicultural delights to waterfront in day-long community event

Diwali is all about the victory of light over darkness.

And a multicultural mix of live music and dance, vendors, food trucks, children’s activities, ethnic clothing from many traditions – plus a fireworks display – will light up Marine Drive’s West Beach waterfront as White Rock’s Festival of Lights: Diwali Integration returns for a third year this Saturday (Oct. 1).

The city and sponsor-supported free public event, which will will be staged at 14970 Marine Drive (adjacent to the pier and White Rock Museum and Archives), starts with opening ceremonies at noon, will offer a full line-up of multi-cultural entertainment on the mainstage by the museum throughout the festival, with a fireworks display scheduled for 8:30 p.m.

Dignitaries attending are expected to include South Surrey-White Rock MP Dianne Watts, B.C. community, sport and cultural development minister Peter Fassbender, Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Stephanie Cadieux, and White Rock’s Mayor Wayne Baldwin and Coun. Helen Fathers.

Diwali, which originated in India as a Hindu festival of ceremonial candle-lighting to  symbolize the victory of good over evil – has evolved into an international celebration that brings many cultures together to express their mutual wish to promote peace and foster good deeds.

Over the past three years, the festival’s presenter, White Rock’s International Community Celebration Society, chaired by well-known community organizer Moti Bali, has particularly emphasized the multicultural aspect of the city’s Diwali celebration, underlining it with the slogan “White Rock Welcomes The World.”

Starting in 2014 with a festival that drew some 50,000 spectators and participants throughout the day, the celebration increased its reach to some 100,000 people in 2015.

The shortage of parking on Marine Drive  – often an inhibitor for those contemplating attending events on the waterfront – should not prevent families from enjoying the festival, Bali said.

“This year, just as last year, the Semiahmoo First Nation is providing free parking at its parking lot at Semiahmoo Park on East Beach, and there will be a trolley bus bus service to West Beach from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m,” he said.

A special launch event for festival volunteers will be held Friday, 4-6 p.m. at the White Rock Community Centre, featuring a lighting ceremony, Indian foods and beverages and demonstrations of Bhangra dancing and various martial arts skills.