CELEBRATIONS of a major religious festival are taking place in Leicester this weekend.
The annual Vaisakhi festivities, which are marked by thousands from the city’s Sikh community, include an event at Leicester Museum and Art Gallery in New Walk, and a huge parade across the city centre.
On Saturday, April 30, the museum hosts a free day-long series of events and activities themed around Vaisakhi, run in partnership with the Sikh Museum Initiative and Falcons Primary School.
The event runs from 11am to 4pm and includes a performance by children of the story of Vaisakhi, a Gatka Sikh martial arts demonstration, lectures, storytelling, turban tying demonstration, bhangra dance performances and Vaisakhi arts and crafts.
Leicester deputy city mayor for culture, leisure and sport, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, said: “Vaisakhi celebrates the harvest time in India’s Punjab region, and also commemorates the birth of the Sikh Khalsa, and is always a busy time for celebration in Leicester.
“These events are open to anyone to take part, to bring to life this colourful celebration.”
The traditional Vaisakhi procession will be taking place in the city centre on Sunday, May 1, and drivers are being warned of possible traffic disruption and delays.
It regularly involves up to 10,000 participants and thousands of spectators, and will begin making its way across the city from about 11.30am.
As in previous years, the procession will travel from Holy Bones near the Vaughan Way slip road, to St Nicholas Circle, High Street, Humberstone Gate, Charles Street, St George’s Way, Swain Street, St Peter’s Road, and arriving at East Park Road at about 2.30pm.
It means St Nicholas Circle, on the city’s inner ring road, will be closed to traffic for about one hour from 11.15am, and St George’s Way closed from about 12.30-1.30pm.
Leicester City Council is working with police on traffic management for the day, to ensure the city’s road network remains open.
Director of City Highways at Leicester City Council, Martin Fletcher, said: “The Vaisakhi parade takes place every year so we have plenty of experience of managing the impact caused to other road users.
“We’re working closely with the police to ensure the event goes ahead safely, while also ensuring the impact on the city’s road network is kept to a minimum.
“However people coming into the city centre this Sunday will need to allow extra time, and think about how they will travel into the city.
“It may be better to use public transport, or to cycle or walk into the city while the parade is taking place, or to plan visits to avoid the worst of any traffic disruption and delays.”
More information and travel options are available at: http://www.choosehowyoumove.co.uk/
Traffic and travel updates are available from Leicester’s Area Traffic Control on Twitter via @ATCLeicester