Thousands Line San Francisco Streets For Chinese New Year’s Parade

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Hundreds of thousands of people packed the streets of downtown San Francisco for one of the largest Chinese New Year’s parades in the world.

The festivities started off with a bang as multiple firecrackers were ignited at the corner of 2nd and Market streets. After that, it was time for the floats, marching bands and various groups marching through the streets.

Adrian and his family came all the way from Sacramento to view the spectacle.

“This is the best from what I’ve heard,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the dragons. And we brought ear protection for the firecrackers just in case.”

The significance of the event was not lost on San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who late last year became the first Chinese American to ever be elected mayor of the city, which now has a population that is over 30 percent Asian.

KCBS’ Mark Seelig Reports:

“We’re very proud. We’re proud to share our culture with all of the different diverse communities in San Francisco and the Bay Area,” Lee said.

Perhaps the best part of the annual parade: all the kids with smiling faces, either participating in the parade or watching from the sidewalks.

Organizer Beverly Lee said the event marks the start of the Year of the Dragon. “Dragons are very strong animals and it’s the best of all 12 animals,” she said. “So it’s a big deal.”

The annual event traces its roots back to the late 1860’s and now draws close to a million spectators each year.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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