Chinese New Year Parade 2020 celebrates the Year of the Rat

Young children take part in the Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
A float goes by at the Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
A character interacts with a parade goer at the Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
People watch the Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
People watch the Chinese New Year Parade from above as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
A BART train float rides through the Chinese New Year Paradeas the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
People wave from the back of a flat bed truck druing the Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Mayor London Breed waves to the crowd at the Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
A Dragon goes by at the Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
A float with rats going around the world goes by at the Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
A float goes by at the Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Ribbon dancers go by at the Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
People take part in the Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
People wave from an oversized Lucky shopping cart at the Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Dragons dance as fire crackers explode during the Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
A dragon goes by at the Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
A Dragon goes by at the Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
A float wishing all a “Happy New Year” goes by at the Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
A group of young children make a dragon dance at the Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
A float goes by at the Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Ribbon dancers perform at the Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Fire crackers explode at the Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Firecrackers explode while dancers wave banners in the Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
A glowing dragon goes by at the Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Spectators take photos and video during the Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
A glowing dragon goes by at the Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
A glowing dragon goes by at The Chinese New Year Parade as the Year of the Rat is celebrated in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Pounding drums and bursts of firecrackers echoed through the streets of downtown at the Chinese New Year Parade on Saturday.

The annual parade is the largest Lunar New Year celebration outside of Asia and attracts thousands to the barricaded streets each year to partake in Chinese cultural traditions. This year’s celebration for the Year of the Rat saw many children sporting large rounded ears and whiskers.

Dragons, lion dancers, marching bands, dance troupes and colorful corporate floats followed decked out luxury convertibles that carried waving city supervisors, Mayor London Breed and state Sen. Scott Wiener, among other San Francisco notables.

“This is a family tradition for us,” said Cesar Gudiel, a father who came from the Mission District equipped with folding chairs. “I get to spend time with my kids and it’s a great time for family bonding.”

Despite fears of the spread of coronavirus, at a press conference earlier this week SF officials urged parade visitors that there was no need for worry. Department of Public Health Director Grant Colfax said Thursday there had been no newly diagnosed cases in San Francisco but to take regular flu precautions. Two patients from Santa Clara County who have contracted the novel coronavirus are being treated at UCSF as of last week.

“I wasn’t sure about coming because of all the news about the virus,” said Jenn Wyckoff who travelled from Martinez to see the parade with her daughter, Layla. “But I’ve been coming since 1983 so I wasn’t going to miss it.”

Above the music and excitement of the attractions parade goers yelled out, “Gung hay fat choy,” Cantonese for new year’s well wishes.

“Even though this is put on by the Chinese community, it’s wonderful to experience this multi-lingual, multi-racial event of people coming together,” said Kay Ader, a first time parade viewer who has been living in the area for 22 years. “It really summarizes what the Bay Area is all about.”

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