EVERYONE from postmen to school prefects wanted in on Penang’s Merdeka parade along Light Street this year.
A whopping 8,300 members in 124 contingents showed up, giving Penangites the largest National Day parade seen in a decade.
The line stretched so long that it took an hour and 15 minutes for 110 contingents on foot and 14 on vehicles to march past the grandstand.
With pauses in the parade for various dances and performances, it took two hours and 15 minutes for everyone to give their salute to the Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas and his consort Toh Puan Majimor Shariff.
Kindergarten kids formed the largest contingent — totalling 1,030 members — under Penang National Unity and Integrity Department. There were among the multitude of other contingents from government agencies, uniformed bodies, universities and schools.
Excited about being part of a massive crowd, the children fervently waved mini Jalur Gemilang as they marched past thousands of spectators.
In the Penang SUKMA 2018 contingent are 526 athletes who will compete in the 19th SUKMA Games from Sept 14 to 22 in Perak.
Federal government agencies, which had in the past ten years abstained from joining due to Penang being an opposition state, came forward this year.
“We estimate the number of participants this year has almost doubled,” said a spokesman from the State Secretary’s office.
An early morning storm threatened to dampen things but the rain turned out to be short-lived and lent a breezy coolness to the air as the parade began.
Synchronised marching, choir groups belting out patriotic songs and schoolchildren performing martial arts were among the many exciting displays at the parade.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, exco members, MPs, assemblymen and other dignitaries accompanied Abdul Rahman at the grandstand.