The arrival of the Lunar New Year in the Chinese culture kicks off celebrations in dozens of countries where there are significant Chinese populations. In the U.S., few celebrations are as big as those thrown in the San Francisco-Bay Area region of California. The city of San Francisco has the largest Chinatown outside of Asia and the oldest one in North America, while the larger region boasts the second largest Chinese-American populations, at more than 629,000 people. Many of San Francisco’s celebrations, including a parade and cultural fair, are located within walking distance of the city’s main tourist hubs. Below is a listing of the events that will take place over the 15-day Chinese festival.
Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015
11 a.m. to 3 p.m., The San Francisco Botanical Garden Society’s Lunar New Year Celebration: This event features cultural performances and hands-on activities, including lion dancers, folk dances, and tai chi and sword form demonstrations. Location: San Francisco County Fair Building.
2 p.m., San Francisco Symphony Chinese New Year Celebration: A concert by the famed orchestra includes a pre-concert reception. Planned activities include lion dancing, Chinese calligraphy and a red envelopes giveaway. Tickets prices range from $15 to $72.
Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015
7:30 p.m., Miss Chinatown USA Pageant: Organizers of the 55-year-old beauty and culture pageant have been crowning young Chinese-American women from throughout the United States for years. Participants compete for prizes and scholarships. The winners become goodwill ambassadors for the Chinese community throughout the New Year, according to the Chinese Chamber of Commerce. Ticket prices range from $35 to $65.
Sunday, March 1, 2015
8 a.m., Chinese New Year 10K/5K Run/Walk: The Chinatown YMCA's puts on the “Chinese New Year Run for the Kids!” The race raises money for the YMCA's youth programs, and boasts more than 1,500 runners and walkers. The race begins at Sacramento and Grant streets in San Francisco. The registration fee is $42.
Saturday, March 7, 2015
10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Chinatown Community Street Fair: Walk through the streets of the nation’s oldest Chinatown with an estimated half a million attendees. The annual two-day fair offers variety of Chinese cultural arts, including lanterns, kites, calligraphy and folk dance. The fair is located on Grant Avenue from Clay to Broadway and on surrounding streets.
11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Chinese Culture Center Spring: This event features exhibitions, crafts, demonstrations, Chinese dance performances and martial arts. Location: The Chinese Culture Center, 750 Kearny Street in San Francisco.
5:15 p.m. to 8 p.m., The Official Chinese New Year Parade: Considered one of the world's top ten parades, this annual event features over 100 floats, many of them displaying artistic interpretations of the theme, the Year of the Sheep. The parade begins at Market and Second streets in San Francisco, and makes its way past Chinatown, ending on Kearny Street.