In the 1860's gold lured a lot of people to the San Francisco region, and a fair percentage of those prospectors were Chinese, so Chinese New Year has been celebrated round these parts for about a century and a half now – one of the longest running events outside of Asia. These days there are three major parts to the celebrations, which run for the entire two weeks, just like in China. The first two events are both fairs: the Chinese New Year Flower Fair and the Chinatown Community Street Fair, and the final event, at the culmination of the celebrations, is the Chinese New Year Parade – always referred to as 'one of the best outside of China'.
Each year they promise more than 100 different groups will participate – many with impressively decorated floats – including school marching bands, martial arts groups, lion dancers, traditional stilt walkers and acrobats. There's some melding of cultures as the arrival of the newly crowned Miss Chinatown is preceded by a 201 foot long Golden Dragon, manned by a team of 100 men and women. This impressive dragon was specially made in China and has been the star of many, many parades.
If you can't make it to the event you can usually watch it live on TV.
Written by Sarah Knighton.
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