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Tuesday 26 February 2013

Chinese New Year Parade 2013

Every February San Francisco plays host to one of the biggest Chinese New Year parades in the world.

This year's parade was held last Saturday and was attended by thousands of spectators who lined the streets along the route.

Just like last year we headed to Kim's work for a bird's eye view of the parade from the 21st floor. Last year the parade route just missed going directly past Kim's work however we still had great views along the sides of the building. This year the parade was changed slightly bringing the festivities directly past the front of Kim's work. Perfect!

Ava and Lola meet some of the parade characters 

We spent much of our time watching the parade from upstairs however we did brave the cold and crowds and headed downstairs for a closer look early in the evening.

Lions from above

Here come Ava & Lola's roly-poly friends

There were plenty of snakes in the parade this year

Down on the street Ava watches the parade from Daddy's shoulders

The girls loved watching the dragons up close and were especially excited by the lions that look like mini two person dragons. The lions tend to come in really close to the crowd along the parade route and there were plenty of squeals of delight as the lions shook their heads towards us.

Here comes a dragon 



Lion and flags



As well as the dragons and lions there were plenty of other performers involved in the parade: marching bands, dance troupes, drummers, stilt walkers, floats filled with waving people, people waving flags, people holding banners, fire trucks, even walking recycling bins, Ronald McDonald and a hot rod shopping cart!

Even walking recycling bins joined in the parade!

Fan dance

Fan dance

Stilt walker
The stilt walkers stopped in front of us for some time.
I felt sorry for them as they had to keep marching on the spot every time the parade stopped otherwise they'd fall over!



Lots of waving

When I think Chinese food I don't usually think of McDonalds! 

So that's what was making all those revving engine sounds! 

Shopping cart hot rod

More waving from floats

When it started to get a little cold for us outside, and the girls began to tire of the crowds, we headed back upstairs to watch from the balcony (also cold) and from inside. We arrived back upstairs just in time to see the sun setting spectacularly over the city. If only those bright spot lights for the parade weren't ruining my photo!

Beautiful sunset sky - and dazzlingly bright spotlights!

While it was great being downstairs and seeing the parade up close there's nothing like viewing it from above to get the full effect, especially of the dragons. Watching the dragons snake their way down the street, chasing a glowing orb and surrounded by firecrackers is just amazing.

Dragons make their way down Post Street

A dragon and marching bands

Another dragon heads down the street

Lots of banners

With her trusty Derwent pencils and artist's folio at hand Ava set about drawing the parade below. 

Ava draws the parade from above

Ava's drawing of a dragon in the parade and a dragon puppet she coloured at school

And when she'd had her fill of drawing there was a little dragon to play with. It did try and eat Ava's head though!

Pet dragon

The end of the parade was marked, as always, with the largest lions followed by the largest dragon. From my count the final dragon was carried by about 40 people, with quite a few helpers on hand. There were non-stop fire crackers booming and echoing up and down the streets as the glowing dragon made it's way along the parade route marking the end of another successful Chinese New Year parade for San Francisco.

Large lions and little dragons

All those fire crackers make lots of smoke

I wish I hadn't missed seeing these lions from the front

This large dragon marked the end of the parade

The final (and largest) dragon

 Happy Lunar New Year!

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