The booming drums, the flashing lights, and the cheering crowd. It was so much more magical than I remember. Two years ago, I watched the Chinese New Year Parade in the rain. This year the weather was nice and the parade was fantastic.
The Chinese New Year Parade is a great display of traditional Chinese culture. It included Chinese musicians, big guys playing those loud booming drums, martial arts, dragons, lions, and firecrackers. There were also several entries from the local Chinese community; school children dancing to gangnam style, Miss Chinatown in the back of a convertable, and the Chinese Cultural Center marching band! But the true magic of the parade comes from the big floats with bright colors and lights.
The route of the parade changed this year. It no longer makes a loop around union square park, but instead u-turns one block north. I went around to the north side to meet my friend and stood on Powell Street to watch the show. Since powell has a steep incline, it was like watching the chow from stadium seating!
If you read about the parade two years ago, you know it has a grand finale. After the last entry, all the lights went off to set the anticipation. Then there was the sound of fireworks echoing off the buildings. An entourage of dancing lions, sword twirlers, and tangu drummers set the stage for what was to come.
And finally, it came. The giant illuminated dragon!! The bright orange dragon was carried by over 100 men, and lit with thousands of lights. I stood there with hundreds of fascinated spectators and watched as the magnificent dragin snaked its way down the street.