SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- With the last weekend of the Lunar New Year upon us, preparations were underway Friday night at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square.
That's where hundreds gathered at this year's Miss Chinatown USA Pageant.
"We have been around for over 60 years," said Noreen Wong.
Wong is the pageant coordinator. She says this year's event is the biggest one yet.
But the pageant is just one of several things happening in the city this weekend.
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"We have a record number of units in the parade, and we also have more than 100,000 vendors lining the streets of Chinatown," said Donald Luu, of the San Francisco Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
On Saturday, the Chinese New Year parade - the largest of its kind outside of Asia - will take over the streets of San Francisco.
The parade has long been one of the highlights of the city's social calendar.
But this year will be a little different, with security top of mind following the two recent mass shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay.
"All the law enforcement assuring us that they're going to be there. They're going to be vigilant," Luu said.
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Besides those incidents, rising hate crimes against Asian Americans following the pandemic has been a cause of concern for the community for the past several years.
But despite those challenges, local leaders say they're determined to make this year's festivities the best yet.
"We are a very resilient community. In all the hardships we have faced throughout history in this country, we continue to grow," said Luu.
A way to celebrate their culture proudly and continue to share it with the rest of the world.
"We made a lot of great contributions from the transcontinental railway to right now, all these great Chinese Americans becoming professionals," Wong said.
For more information on the festivities, visit here.
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