This year's National Day is doubly special. Not only does Singapore turn 54, we are commemorating our SG Bicentennial this year as well.
That's certainly a cause for celebration! Coincidentally, we have a long weekend to celebrate both milestones. And for those of you who are staying put in Singapore for the occasion, there are events and activities all across the island planned for that.
From gallery exhibitions and fun runs, to night festivals and, of course, the mega National Day Parade, there are plenty of ways you can celebrate our nation's independence day this August.
If you haven't got anything planned, here are a few to add to your schedule.
Consider your National Day weekend fully booked.
1. NATIONAL DAY PARADE
The annual spectacle not to be missed, the NDP is a magnificent display of patriotism and a celebration of everything that makes Singapore one of a kind.
The awe-inspiring aerial displays and military parades, multicultural performances and skits, and of course the stunning fireworks at the end, will keep us riveted till the end.
This year, there are a total of six acts to look forward to, including the debut of the Republic of Singapore Air Force's Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), the inaugural participation of the Home Team Volunteer contingent and Singapore Armed Forces at the parade and ceremony. There's also the mobile column travelling to five heartland sites - Bishan, Punggol, Jurong East, Woodlands and Geylang Serai - for the first time since 2010, with fireworks displays at all five sites.
If you haven't gotten a ticket, you could watch the show live on TV and make it a fun party with your family, or head down to the aforementioned sites for a glimpse of the action.
On Aug 9, 5pm, at The Padang, Singapore 179861
2. NATIONAL DAY FIESTA @ SPORTS HUB
The Sports Hub celebrates all things Singaporean at the National Day Fiesta with a whole day of festivities, including sports challenges, mass workouts, outdoor live screening of the parade at Stadium Riverside, hands-on and interactive activities such as craft workshops (monogramming, screen printing, leather making and wax sealing), family games and more.
Registration for most of the activities is free. There will also be face painting, balloon sculpting, storytelling session and an inflatable playground for kids while adults check out the local bazaar!
On Aug 9, 10am to 9pm, at OCBC Square, 1 Stadium Drive, Singapore 397629
3. SENTOSA CELEBRATES NATIONAL DAY 2019
Need some island action to spice up your National Day weekend?
From 19 July to 18 August, Sentosa is organising a host of activities and performances in celebration of our nation's birthday.
You can pen down your thoughts, wishes and aspirations for Singapore at the wall of wishes installed at the linkway bridge, be enchanted by the magic lights at The Merlion, and watch local three-piece band Auburn Daze perform a medley of hit music.
From July 19 to Aug 18, all day, at various locations around Sentosa island.
4. SINGAPORE CITY GALLERY
This is where you can go for an eye-opening history lesson. The Singapore City Gallery at the URA Centre, which was set up in 1999 to educate the public on Singapore's land-use journey over the years, reopened on March 20 with added interactive exhibits for visitors to learn about the challenges in urban development.
The gallery now offers an immersive show that allows participants to journey through hidden infrastructural networks and urban systems, an interactive group game that encourages players to identify traits of their perfect neighbourhood and discover which one in Singapore suits their needs, as well as a brand-new permanent exhibit that tracks the country's physical evolution through detailed maps.
From Mondays to Saturdays, 9am to 5pm. Closed on Sundays and public holidays. Admission is free. At 45 Maxwell Rd, The URA Centre, Singapore 069118.
5. MODERN COLONY EXHIBITION
To learn more about Singapore's bicentennial history, head over to the Modern Colony Exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore. The exhibition showcases Singapore's past as a British Crown colony during the 1920s and 1930s through the different kinds of clothing and valuables worn by the Chinese population.
Through a curated array of personal belongings, including lush embroidered cheongsams, intricately crafted shoes and exquisite personal trinkets, visitors can discover how both migrant Chinese and affluent Straits-born Chinese expressed their identities as well as the challenges they faced in figuring out their roles in society.
Daily from 10am to 7pm, with the last admission at 6.30pm. Admission is free for Singaporeans, Permanent Residents and visitors aged six years and below. At Modern Colony Gallery, Level 2, National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Rd, Singapore 178897.
6. SINGAPORE NIGHT FESTIVAL 2019
The Singapore Night Festival, since its launch in 2008, has consistently turned the Bras Basah and Bugis districts into lively hangout spots for night owls to gather and be part of the ever-evolving landscape of Singapore's nightlife and arts scene.
Lasting for two weekends every August, this midsummer's celebration of sorts features highlights such as interactive light installations that transform the National Museum of Singapore and Singapore Art Museum into stunning canvases.
Look forward to music, aerial and street performances by local and international artistes, film screenings, improvisational theatre performances, and more.
While it might not fall exactly on the National Day weekend, it's still a great way to experience our local cultural heritage in a new light.
From Aug 23 to 31, 7.30pm to midnight.
7. SSO NATIONAL DAY CONCERT
Our very own critically acclaimed Singapore Symphony Orchestra joins in the celebration by joining forces with the Singapore Symphony Chorus and Youth Choir to present an all-Singaporean showcase of familiar National Day favourites (such as the ubiquitous 'Home') and pieces inspired by Singapore's history and culture, including a medley of NS songs.
Directed by conductor Joshua Tan, the concert also features local King of Swing, Jeremy Monteiro and his jazz trio, as well as international bassist Christy Smith.
On Aug 10, 7.30pm at the Esplanade Concert Hall, 1 Esplanade Drive, Singapore 038981, tel. 6828 8377. Tickets are priced at $15, $28, $38, $48, and admission is for ages six and above.
8. NATIONAL DAY RUN 2019 @ CONEY ISLAND
A nation that gets fit together stays together. Besides, after the National Day weekend festivities, it's time to burn off the extra calories so lace up your shoes and head down to Punggol Jetty for the fourth edition of the National Day Run!
Jointly organised by Tampines Central CSC and Pasir Ris West CSC, the run kicks off at 7am on 18 Aug. There are two events this year: the 8.5km Fun Run ($15) and the 4.5km Walk-A-Jog ($10), where participants can run at their own pace or stroll around the tranquil Coney Island to appreciate its rustic charm.
All participants will receive an event t-shirt, a towel, an isotonic drink, a drawstring bag, a bottle of mineral water and a banana. On top of that, participants will receive a goodie bag, which comes with a dri-fit event T-shirt. Medals will be given to 8.5km finishers, and participants stand a chance to win a lucky draw.
No better excuse than that to work up a sweat.
On Aug 18, 7am, at Punggol settlement (near Punggol jetty).
9. NDP 2019 CELEBRATIONS AT TAMPINES
Tampines residents sure know how to party. From Aug 8 to 10, join in the celebrations at the three-day birthday bash that commemorates both Singapore's birthday and Our Tampines Hub's second anniversary.
Freebies are up for grabs, and you can catch the heart-stopping finals for The Ultimate Gladiator Challenge obstacle race.
There will also be a mobile column presentation and you can watch the live broadcast of the National Day Parade as well as a spectacular fireworks display at the town square.
Plus, from Aug 9 to 11, HomeTeamNS Tampines will be throwing a National Day Weekend Carnival, which will feature a National Day-themed photo booth and painting workshops where participants can bring home their canvases after painting their idea of a perfect National Day.
The carnival is open to all, and admission fees apply.
From Aug 8 to 10, 9am to midnight, at 1 Tampines Walk, Our Tampines Hub, Singapore 528523, tel. 6705 9410
10. HERITAGE HURRAY!
Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall will be offering a myriad of free public programmes in celebration of Singapore's 54th birthday.
At Heritage Hurray!, visitors can learn more about Singapore's rich cultural history and shared heritage.
Programmes include a community art market that features curated works from both local and overseas artisans, heritage trails around the Balestier precinct, storytelling sessions by veteran storytellers and local authors, as well as talks and interactive craft workshops conducted by local and overseas artisans.
Participants of Heritage Hurray! will also receive a National Day Fun Pack. Admission is free.
From 10am to 5pm from Tuesdays to Sundays, at Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, 12 Tai Gin Rd, Singapore 327874, tel. 6256 7377.
The article was first published in Her World Online.