SINGAPORE - This year’s National Day Parade will return to the Marina Bay floating platform in its full glory on Aug 9, but Singaporeans in the heartland can get a head start on celebrations the weekend before at 12 locations across the island.
Besides community fireworks and jumps by the Red Lions parachutists that proved to be crowd favourites during the pandemic, large-scale carnival activities will return for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
Fireworks will light up the Jurong West, Woodlands and Bedok stadiums as well as the former Tampines Junior College and the field in front of Ang Mo Kio Public Library from around 8.15pm on Aug 9 - the same time as the display at the main parade in Marina Bay.
On Aug 7, a Sunday, the Red Lions will freefall over two fields - next to Junction 8 in Bishan and along North Buona Vista Road near Ghim Moh Market and Food Centre.
They will jump at around 9am and speak to the audience after, said the parade organisers and the People's Association (PA) in a joint statement on Wednesday (July 13).
On Aug 9, Chinook helicopters will execute the iconic flypast of the state flag across Singapore.
One will fly over the western half of the country, and another will be over the eastern half.
The western route will cover areas including Bukit Panjang, Bukit Timah, Kranji, Choa Chu Kang, Jurong and West Coast while the eastern route will go over Khatib, Sengkang, Punggol, Bedok, Pasir Ris, Changi and East Coast, the statement said.
The flypasts will take place from 5.25pm to 6.15pm.
Between 5.50pm and 6.15pm, six F-16 fighter jets will cross the nation in a delta formation, the organisers and PA added.
The chairman of the NDP 2022 Heartlands Committee, Colonel Kwek Kian Leong, said: "Over the past two years, certain elements of the National Day Parade (NDP) were brought into the heartland that Singaporeans really appreciate, such as the Red Lions as well as the aerial flypast.
"This year, we will retain these elements and scale up celebrations in the heartland."
There will also be five carnivals - in Buona Vista, Ang Mo Kio, Sembawang and Punggol on Aug 6 and another in Geylang Serai on Aug 7.
Speaking to the press at a media briefing on Wednesday, PA group director for grassroots Pow Choon Ghee said: "After three years of Covid, we want to engage and reconnect with our residents and we hope that residents can come to these heartland sites and enjoy a day of fun with their families."
The carnivals will be ticketed, with free tickets available for collection from all community clubs from 10am on Thursday (July 14), the organisers and PA said.
These will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis and can be used to redeem things like this year's NDP pack at the carnival sites, they added.
People can also book tickets online from July 23 via a booking link which will be available on the NDP website.
The organisers and PA added that for the carnivals and some of the fireworks displays, which are in enclosed areas such as the stadiums, participants must be fully vaccinated to enter, or fall under other exemptions in the national guidelines.
The public will be asked to verify their vaccination status, they added, as the country rides out a fresh wave of the Covid-19 virus with minimal tightening of measures.
Col Kwek said visitors will also be strongly advised to wear masks, even though it is not a legal requirement to do so in open-air areas.
The carnivals will have theme-park style rides and various other activities.
Each has been organised around a separate theme planned by grassroots leaders in the area.
Many of the carnivals will also feature efforts to recognise the efforts by ordinary Singaporeans during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
For example, the carnival at Buona Vista - themed Celebrate With Our Stars @ South West, will invite residents to write down messages to the heroes in their lives and feature some exceptional residents who helped their neighbours.
They include a group of volunteers who started an initiative to distribute porridge to the needy in their area during the pandemic.
The carnivals will also feature static displays of vehicles from the Singapore Armed Forces and the Home Team, Col Kwek added.
Heartland events like this may become an NDP mainstay in the future, with Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen previously saying he would like to continue holding displays in the heartland to reach more Singaporeans.