7 fringe SG50 events to check out if you can’t score tickets to the parade

It’s no ordinary birthday party. Singapore’s Golden Jubilee this year comes not just with an enormous parade at The Padang but several other major fringe events occurring in various parts of the island. No matter where you are, you can still be part of the action at these alternative venues.

1. Botanic Gardens

Check out a free, culture-packed program at Singapore’s newly crowned World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Part of the city’s SG50 Concert Series in the Park, it will be held from Aug 7-9 and will feature a nostalgia-themed line-up (of course) including Aneka Ragam Ra’ayat, which resembles the 1959 “People’s Variety Show”. There will also be heritage tours, concerts, bandstand performances, an outdoor movie screening and a live telecast of the National Day Parade happening over the three days.

2. Gardens by the Bay

Take lots of pictures at Singapore Stories, a floral showcase at the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest, depicting the different tales and legends of Singapore. Conceptualized by award-winning Singaporean landscape architect Damian Tang, the show is inspired by famous local stories such as Sang Nila Utama, Redhill and Pulau Ubin. While you’re there, don’t miss the SG50 edition of the Garden Rhapsody music and light show at 7:45pm, 8:30pm, 9:15pm and 10pm from Aug 7-10.

3. The Esplanade

Singapore’s premier arts and music destination is hosting several free programs from Aug 6-10. There are events like dance and music performances by local artists like musical duo The Freshman, singer Gabrielle and Indian-fusion band Kon-Fusionz and interactive art installations like Sing.La.Pura, which explores interpersonal relationships via sounds found in Singapore’s neighborhoods. Check out their local entrepreneur bazaar, which sells books from indie bookstore Books Actually and popsicles from local enterprise Popaganda.

4. Marina Barrage

Join The Families for Life picnic on Aug 7-8 (8-11am) and watch an aerial display by the Black Knights, the official aerobatics team of the Republic of Singapore Air Force. The event also features a carnival, food trucks and performances by the SAF Music & Dance Company. The main highlight is the live telecast of the National Day Parade on Aug 9 (4pm to 8.30pm), set against the skyline, on the Green Roof, a landscaped space the size of four football fields.

5. National Museum of Singapore

If you haven’t already seen the NMS’s Singapura: 700 Years exhibition, there free entry and guided tours for all from Aug 7-10.  Admissions run till late and you can catch a free outdoor film screening of vintage Hollywood movies from Aug 7-8 at 8pm, like Doctor Zhivago and The Sound of Music. If you are up for some shopping, there’s the Maker’s Market too, selling handcrafted goods by local designers and craftsmen.

6. ArtScience Museum

Free entry to the ASM? Yes, please! Organized in collaboration with The Straits Times, this special exhibition covers significant moments in Singapore’s history through  a curated collection of images, videos and stories from the newspaper’s archives. Stretching across six galleries, Singapore STories: Then, Now, Tomorrow is a multimedia exhibition journaling the nation’s roots from the 1800s to its path to independence in the 1950s. It runs till Oct 4 and admission is free.

7. Waterfront Promenade

Savor home-cooked Singaporean food at #SGEatWithUs, a gathering of local communities sharing pot-luck dishes with friends, family and visitors. Happening on Aug 1-2 and Aug 7-9, from 12pm to 10pm, this free food carnival features 12 different recipes by home chefs. There is even a large-scale popiah-making party on Aug 2, involving the popular Chinese spring roll commonly found here.