This year's Chinese New Year parade (and festival) just happened to fall on Saturday, February 11, 2017, during a quick overnight trip we had planned to San Francisco. We were going to see the wonderful Dianne Arbus early years exhibit at SFMOMA. We were delighted to learn that the charming Hotel Cornell where we love staying, was only a block and a half from the Chinese New Year's parade.

If you've never seen it, the Chinese New Year Parade is listed as one of the top ten Parades in the world by IFEA (International Festivals and Events Association), and is one of the few remaining night illuminated Parades in the country. According to the website, it was started in the 1860's by the Chinese in San Francisco as a means to educate the community about their culture. The site claims that the Parade and Festival have grown to be the largest celebration of Asian culture outside of Asia.  The website notes that "nowhere in the world will you see a lunar new year parade with more gorgeous floats, elaborate costumes, ferocious lions, exploding firecrackers , and of course the newly crowned Miss Chinatown U.S.A. and her court. A crowd favorite is the spectacular 268' Golden Dragon ("Gum Lung") It takes a team of over 100 men and women from the martial arts group, White Crane to carry this dragon throughout the streets of San Francisco."  Wow!

We headed out in the late afternoon and found some decent vantage points. I had not prepared to shoot the parade, so next time I'd pack differently, but what fun! This is the Year of the Rooster, and the parade participants were very diverse, from Chinese immersion students to local Martial Arts groups, to lots of law enforcement and other public service employees. Nearby DSW even offered extra discounts to those stopping in for a pair of shoes during the parade, so that was an added plus!