SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- In Chinese folklore, firecrackers ward off evil spirits. And after lighting off of hundreds of firecrackers, this year's San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade began.
Welcome, to the year of the Rabbit.
"We got to see the lion dance and all the little kids that are dressed up. I love all the rabbit floats. So it is great," said Cyrea Gomez, who lives in San Jose. She came out with her daughter.
Organizers want this event to entertain, but also to educate. From the rabbit floats to the lion dances to the hundreds of children representing various cultural clubs, all the pageantry of Chinese culture and tradition were on display.
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"Mostly the dragons and fireworks. That's what I love!" said 11-year-old Kainoa Kalama, who attended with his mother.
"I like all the coordinated dances by the schools," said Alana Tillery, a Baltimore resident who was in San Francisco on a business trip.
Even the rain, which at times was moderate, wasn't enough to dampen the mood. Thousands lined the streets of downtown San Francisco along the 1.3 mile parade route, which began at Second and Market Streets, ran around Union Square and ended in Chinatown.
"We didn't let the rain stop us from having a good time and stop us from celebrating Lunar New Year in San Francisco. This is amazing and this is one of the best parades that happens here," said San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who was in the parade.
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In fact, this parade dates back to the 1860s and has become the largest lunar new year parade outside of Asia.
California State Senator Scott Wiener, who represents San Francisco, was also in the parade. He says the parade is especially important this year.
"This parade is incredibly important for San Francisco and the Bay Area, especially with all of the attacks and violence directed at our Asian American communities. We all need to link arms and rally around and show solidarity. And fun as a community," said Weiner.
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