Chinese New Year Parade 2012


One of the top 10 parades in the world, according to this website, the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade is full of gigantic floats, beautiful costumes, tens of dragons, and firecrackers! Tori, Amelia, Jeremy, and I met up this past Saturday to get some Chinese food and watch the parade. Must have something to do with the new year because our experience was full of luck.

I arrived at Montgomery Station, where we had to agree to meet, only to discover that their train hadn’t left yet. Bummed about having to wait for half an hour, I whipped out my phone and requested that we meet outside. Walking up the stairs the drumming continued to get louder and louder and as I reached the street an entire package of firecrackers went off.

Waiting for the parade to start.

Even though everyone had gotten off at Powell to watch the parade, I had stumbled upon the holding area! There were little to no spectators and I got some amazing photographs of the dragons and floats before they got moving. What a happy coincidence! When Amelia, Tori, and Jeremy arrived we quickly booked it across town to Z&Y for dinner.

Explosive Chicken

Also as extremely wise and lucky decision. When we arrived the tables were emptying and there were only a few people in front of us. As soon as we sat down the waiting area filled up immediately. The food was spicy and delicious, especially the explosive chicken, and after we filled up we headed back out to the parade. The sun had set and the floats were now illuminated. We (fortunately!) found a spot near the judging area with a break in the people and a good view.

Small dragons attacked the crowds!

Thunder Valley Casino Resort Float

Amelia really liked turning Tori's head into a drumset.

Wells Fargo Float

Visa's SF Float

Silver Legacy Casino Resort Float

The parade culminated with the infamous Gum Lung.

250ft long and lit up!

The Chinese New Year Parade started in the 1860s by the Chinese in San Francisco as a means to educate the community about their culture, the Parade and Festival have grown to be the largest celebration of Asian culture outside of Asia. Parade highlights include elaborate floats, lion dancers, folk dancers, costumed elementary school groups, marching bands, stilt walkers, Chinese acrobats, and a 250 foot long Golden dragon, (“Gum Lung”) that takes a team of over 100 men and women to carry.

The parade happens every year, 5:00pm to 8pm, and starts on Market, goes up Geary, down Post and ends on Kearny at Columbus. If you’re in town you should definitely check it out, if you’re not you can see the rest of my parade photos on flickr!