Thousands turned out to ring in the Year of the Horse at the Chinese New Year Parade in downtown San Francisco on Saturday night, despite the threat of rain. Spectators packed the parade route, stretching from the Financial District to Chinatown to see dozens of colorful floats, marching bands, dragon dancers, lions and other creatures (including San Francisco politicians), in one of the city’s most colorful annual events.
Firecrackers rang out and filled the streets with smoke as marchers made their way through the parade route.
“My daughter was afraid of firecrackers, until I told her they were scaring away the evil spirits,” said Lois Kwam, who marched with a group of San Francisco police officers.
San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Parade is the largest parade of its kind outside of Asia. There were more than 100 entries in this year’s event, and it took them all about two hours to meander through the roughly 1.5-mile course.
The parade began around sundown and continued into the evening. A few raindrops fell towards the beginning of the event, but organizers’ fears of rain never materialized.
The Golden Dragon, a 268-foot dragon that was lit up and is accompanied by the sound of thousands of firecrackers, served as the finale. The serpentine dragon was produced in the small Chinese town on Foshan, and it was carried by about 100 men and women.