Alabama native Martha Addison made sure to get to Chinatown early Saturday so she could get a spot front-and-center at the 111th Annual Golden Dragon Parade. She waited for more than an hour from her perch on her lawn chair on North Broadway just so she could get her first glimpse of colorful, billowing dragons, drummers and martial arts performers. “Now that I live in a place where this happens, I though it would be neat,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
The Golden Dragon Parade helped ring in the Chinese Lunar New Year on Saturday in Los Angeles' Chinatown and welcome the Year of the Tiger.
Thousands of people of people lined the streets to watch Barongsai - dragon dancers, marching bands, performers, floats, Hollywood stars and city luminaries.
Animator Lee Kerley traveled from his Jerusalem to Los Angeles to visit friends.
He pushed down the street, passing the crowd with his camera, so he could find a less crowded spot to watch the parade.
“[My friends] decided it would be cool to come and check it out,” he said. “It’s a different scale [here], things tend to be smaller in Jerusalem. Things there happen every weekend but once a year is kind of a big deal."
The Golden Dragon Parade was not just a parade, it was a festival. Booths lined a parking lot off of Broadway, doing everything from selling salsa mixed on site to promoting Islam and healthy drug-free living.
UCLA Junior Sunny Yoon, who volunteered at a booth that offered free blood pressure screening and body mass index testing, said she had never been to Chinatown before but was enjoying both her first experience to the area and volunteering at the event.
She said she was running around trying to promote her booth and the work they were trying to do but it was hard to focus with all of the interesting performances going on not 200 feet away from where they were standing.
“It’s great," she said. "I like the performances. I wanted to stay and watch but I needed to come back and advertise."
People jostled for a better position from which to see the parade as police paced the sidewalks trying to get people to stay behind the barriers.
"Traditionally people are so excited to see the floats they move into the street," said Volunteer Jim Song.
At the Golden Dragon Parade, lion dancer David Nguyen was performing for the first time.
He said the lion dance is supposed to bring good luck and a good year.
He came with the rest of his organization from UCI and said line dancing helped him to better understand and appreciate his heritage and he hoped that people attending the parade enjoyed it as much as he does.
"I like to promote tradition of old types of dance," he said. "I'd seen the dance as a kid but didn't pay much attention. But now, that I've seen the in's and outs, I appreciate the culture and tradition."
The Festival will continue through the day Sunday on Broadway between Cesar Chavez Avenue and Ord Street.