IT'S CHINATOWN - Year of the Dog
The 2006 Chinese New Year Parade
By Pat Murphy
February 11, 2006, 11:45 p.m.
A reported 200,000 exuberant celebrants packed San Francisco
streets this evening to usher in the Chinese New Year and feast
parade visual treats.
Chinatown community leaders, floats, elected officials began
the march precisely at 5:00 p.m., stemming from 2nd Street along
Market to Geary and Union Square, with spectators packed 20 deep
in many locations.
"In 1847 San Francisco was a sleepy little village known
as Yerba Buena with a population of 459," recalled the San
Francisco Chinese Chamber of Commerce which coordinated the event.
"With the discovery of gold and the ensuing California Gold
Rush, by 1849, over 50,000 people had come to San Francisco to
seek their fortune or just a better way of life.
"Among those were many Chinese, who had come to work in
the gold mines and on the railroad. By the 1860's, the Chinese
were eager to share their culture with those who were unfamiliar
"They chose to showcase their culture by using a favorite
American tradition - the Parade. Nothing like it had ever been
done in their native China.
"They invited a variety of other groups from the city to
participate, and they marched down what today are Grant Avenue
and Kearny Street carrying colorful flags, banners, lanterns,
and drums and firecrackers to drive away evil spirits."