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San Francisco streets packed with Chinese New Year Parade celebrations

San Francisco celebrates Chinese New Year
San Francisco celebrates Chinese New Year 02:49

The San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade started off with a bang on Saturday evening.

The parade is said to be biggest outside of Asia. There were a lot of bangs with exploding firecrackers on 2nd and Market Streets to ward off evil spirits and bring in good fortune.

Maria Pereira sat on the Market Street sidewalk to cheer on the participants. She's attended almost every single one since 1992.

"I'm enjoying the different culture, embracing the traditions, the color. It's just fascinating and uplifting," said Pereira.

This year, she brought her kids and her friend's kids to watch the parade. There were a lot of dragons on display for the Year of the Dragon. Parade organizers said the highlight was a 288 feet long golden dragon.

In the Chinese culture, the dragon is the most popular of the 12 zodiac animals.

"Year of the Dragon, I feel like it's inspirational, looking up at the sky because it's a mythical creature," said parade marcher Jade Padilla.

Many people hope the new year will bring wealth, success, and good health.

"A lot of good luck signs, prosperous, and looking forward to a positive year," said Kevin O'Brien, who was working at the event.

Organizers also hope the parade will be one more way to help revitalize Downtown San Francisco. After all, the event is a celebration of the Chinese community and its contributions to the city.

"We're very excited to be here and we excited that it's not pouring rain this year," said attendee Debby Oh of San Francisco.

Unlike last year, the nice weather on Saturday evening brought out tens of thousands of people to line up along the 1.3-mile route. Organizers said they had 19 floats and 122 groups marching through the city.

"Everything is so colorful. Each one has their own energy, the school bands, the kids, the dancers, the dragons," said Pereira.

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