SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - The city's annual Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco drew a large crowd Saturday as thousands of spectators flocked to downtown to watch the annual extravaganza.
At a pier along the waterfront, workers performed last-minute preparations to finish building the colorful and creative floats to celebrate the Year of the Rooster.
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One float featuring several roosters offers an interactive feature. All you need is a smart phone and to log into www.lnyfloat.com.
"You'll be able to select a portion on the float. Let's pick that rooster there and you pick a color and it'll change the rooster that color on the float," Dave Horner, AT&T float designer demonstrated with his phone.
The interactive float is one of 20 floats that will be in the parade.
Another elaborate float with a display of planes took two and a half months to build.
It represents Cathay Pacific, the sponsor of the float.
"When we turn on the lights, there are these amazing LED chaser lights that show the flight paths. It's beautiful. It's amazing," says Stephanie Mufson, chief float builder for the parade.
The opening act of the parade will be a troupe from Cirque Du Soleil's KA show in Las Vegas.
They will be performing an act that is Beijing opera integrated with a Brazilian form of martial arts.
This will only be the second time in 10 years that Cirque du Soleil is participating in the Chinese New Year Parade.
"It's a big honor to be here to celebrate Chinese New Year because I'm Chinese," says Chunnuan Liu, a performer with Cirque du Soleil. In Mandarin, he wishes everyone a Happy Chinese New Year.
At the Hilton on O'Farrell, the newly crowned Miss Chinatown USA 2017 greeted guests at the Coronation Ball.
Karen Yang hails from Sugarland, Texas.
She's a freshman at Harvard, majoring in math and economics.
The 18-year-old has a message for Chinese American girls.
"Be proud of your heritage. Be proud of who you are. I remember when I was younger; I was almost ashamed that I am Chinese. I lived in a predominantly white neighborhood. I live in a suburb of Houston so I knew I was different. I didn't think I was pretty because I looked different than everyone else," says Yang.
Back at the warehouse, a final walkthrough inspection of the floats takes place. It’s been months of work now, ready for the big reveal.
"We've had amazing artists. There's a lot of beautiful work. There's a lot of cool interesting lighting that we don't see in other parades," says Mufsib,
All the floats are scheduled to arrive at the start of the parade route by noon Saturday.
The KTVU crew will be at the broadcast center at Union Square Saturday morning to prepare for the live broadcast of the Chinese New Year Parade.