Chinese New Year is a two week Spring festival celebrated for over 5,000 years in China. The San Francisco Chinese New Year celebration originated in the 1860's during the Gold Rush day and is now the largest Asian event in North America as well as the largest general market event in Northern California. The celebration includes two major fairs, the Chinese New Year Flower Fair and Chinatown Community Street Fair. All the festivities culminate with Chinese New Year Parade.
Named one of the world's top ten parades, Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco is the largest celebration of its kind outside of Asia. Over 100 units will participate in the parade, many of the floats and specialty units will feature the theme of this year's Chinese zodiac sign. Nowhere in the world will you see a lunar new year parade with more gorgeous floats, elaborate costumes, ferocious lions, and exploding firecrackers. Some of the parade highlights include elaborately decorated floats, school marching bands, martial arts group, stilt walkers, lion dancers, Chinese acrobatics, the newly crowned Miss Chinatown USA and the Golden Dragon. The Golden Dragon is over 201 feet long and is always featured at the end of the parade as the grand finale and will be accompanied by over 600,000 firecrackers! The Golden Dragon was made in Foshan, a small town in China. The Foshan dragonmasters formerly made all the costumes for the Cantonese opera, and the Golden Dragon bears many operatic touches, such as the rainbow colored pompoms on its 6 foot-long head. It is festooned from nose to tail with colored lights, decorated with silver rivets on both scaly sides and trimmed in white rabbit fur. The dragon, made on a skeleton of bamboo and rattan, is in 29 segments. It takes a team of 100 men and women to carry the Golden Dragon. This is also considered an honor to be chosen for the grand finale. Rain or shine, come watch the parade!