San Francisco Rings in the Year of the Horse at the Chinese New Year Parade

Chinese New Year, Chinese New Year Parade 2014
Members of the San Gabriel Valley Chinese Cultural Association prepare for the start of the parade (Mark Andrew Boyer / KQED)

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.

Chinese New Year, Chinese New Year Parade 2014
Children from Alamo Elementary School carried pink lotus flowers (Mark Andrew Boyer / KQED)

Firecrackers rang out and filled the streets with smoke as marchers made their way through the parade route.

Chinese New Year, Chinese New Year Parade 2014
Children interact with a lion dancer at the Chinese New Year Parade (Mark Andrew Boyer / KQED)

“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.

Chinese New Year, Chinese New Year Parade 2014
Children from San Francisco’s Wah Mei Pre-School prepare for the 2014 Chinese New Year Parade (Mark Andrew Boyer / KQED)

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.

Chinese New Year, Chinese New Year Parade 2014
Members of the St Mary’s Language School Drill Team took part in the parade (Mark Andrew Boyer / KQED)

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.

Chinese New Year, Chinese New Year Parade 2014
Scott Barnes and Wes Kashiwagi from the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band prepare for the start of the parade (Mark Andrew Boyer / KQED)

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.

Chinese New Year, Chinese New Year Parade 2014
The Golden Dragon brought up the rear of the parade on Market Street (Mark Andrew Boyer / KQED)

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