Gone West: Chinese Lunar New Year

Had the pleasure of attending San Francisco Lunar New Year parade and celebration. It was my first time celebrating this New Year at all, and also only the 2nd night parade I’ve ever attended.

I was impressed by how large a turnout they had and also how much of the Bay Area was represented. I saw floats and processions from all over the city, as well, as marching bands from places like Alameda.

I didn’t know it going in, but the parade was also a great primer for me on local political offices. While I know who the mayor is, I hadn’t taken much time to learn about the various municipal officers and what part they played in the city. Throughout the parade, officials came by riding on cars with their families or staffs. A good friend of mine (and also a great photographer) was able to give me the low-down on their jobs and some of their scandals.

Here are some of my favorite photos from the parade:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You can see the rest of my pictures (172) on Flickr.

Despite it’s size, the parade felt like a local, neighborhood festival. There were a few fancy floats, but most of the production consisted of community groups, schools and clubs. Another thing I noticed was how family friendly it was: you saw kids in the parades and in the audience along the whole thing.

I’m not sure if this will become a regular thing for me, but I think it’s worth checking out once if you are a recent transplant or passing through town. If I’m here next year, then I’ll probably try seeing it from Chinatown or making my way over there after the event.