About One Million People Attend Chinese New Year Parade, Festival in San Francisco

An estimated one million people gathered in San Francisco Saturday night for the annual Chinese New Year Parade.

For those who wanted to see the parade in person, getting there was even more difficult than usual.

That is because underground Muni service was shut down, just as hundreds of thousands of people were making their way into the city.

As always, San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Parade started with a bang. And like always, the streets were packed with hundreds of thousands of people.

"This is our first year... it’s awesome," parade attendee Christy Wong said. "It was worth the trek down here."

"Last year was weather like this, and we had more than a million people," Parade Manager Jerry Lee said. "They're already building up. We’re going to have another million on the street again."

But those who tried to get to the parade route on Muni had to exit the subway after a man was struck and killed on the tracks at the Powell Station Saturday afternoon.

Police said a preliminary investigation indicated the man fell onto the tracks. The subway between the Van Ness and Embarcadero stations was shut down until about 6:30 p.m.

By that time, the parade was already underway. It’s considered the largest celebration of the Chinese New Year outside of Asia.

And this is the Year of the Horse, which is the seventh animal in the Chinese zodiac. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee explained its significance.

"During those times, the horse was the only thing that delivered people and goods, and so, I think it’s a call on all of us to be more dependable to each other," Lee said.

And while this is the Year of the Horse, the dragons appeared to be the biggest crowd pleasers.

"I like all the dragons...because they kept coming to me," parade attendee Mia Siu said. "I think they like me."

And though we are in a drought, even the mayor was glad it did not rain--at least for a few hours.

"I’m kinda partial to rain these days... but maybe we’ll have it tonight right after the parade ends," Lee said.

The Lunar New Year’s celebration continues Sunday with a community street fair in Chinatown.

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