San Francisco Chinatown business owners prepare for in-person Lunar New Year Parade

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Friday, February 18, 2022
SF businesses prepare for in-person Lunar New Year parade
The Lunar New Year Parade will be held in person this year in San Francisco's Chinatown for the first time since the pandemic began.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- We are quickly approaching one of San Francisco's biggest celebrations -- the Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown -- and all of the events that come with it.

The last two celebrations were virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it's back to normal come Saturday.

Thursday night, Mayor London Breed held a special Lunar New Year Celebration at San Francisco City Hall.

Lions could be seen dancing on the floor of the Rotunda and in the air at San Francisco City Hall in preparation for this weekend's Lunar New Year celebrations in Chinatown.

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"We are so excited because the last two years, because of COVID, all the events were virtual, so we're so excited," said Claudine Cheng, who is president of the APA Heritage Foundation.

Saturday's Lunar New Year celebrations, which include the traditional parade at 5:15 p.m., will be in-person.

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Steven Lee owns Lion's Den, one of the only nightclubs to open in recent years in Chinatown. He's hoping for a big weekend as the Year of the Tiger is celebrated.

"All across the board, we're probably 50% down compared to what we were pre-pandemic. We're not giving up, we lasted this long during the pandemic, there's a good number of stores that survived it," said Lee.

There are certainly safety concerns in light of some of the anti-Asian hate crimes seen in the city, but the San Francisco sheriff and mayor say this will be a safe event.

"We're going to be out in full force. We'll have meter maids, we'll have police officers, we'll have ambassadors," said San Francisco Mayor London Breed.

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While Breed spoke inside City Hall and above the traditional lions, the outside of City Hall was lit up in red and gold for the Lunar New Year.

"The Lunar New Year parade in San Francisco is always one for the history books so come on out. The floats are being made, the people are getting ready, I got a new outfit, I'm super excited," said Breed.

"This is an opportunity because City Hall has been closed and the city has suffered so much through the pandemic for the past two years, so today is a celebration," said Vanita Louie, who is San Francisco's Recreation and Park Commissioner.

"Just go and enjoy. It's New Year time!" says Cheng.