SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - San Francisco is preparing for the biggest Chinese New Year celebration in America. The highlight, of course, is the parade.
Festival organizers are working to dispel any lingering rumors of those worried about coronavirus. Organizers say they want people to listen to health experts, not rumors.
After a few last-minute touches, the floats For San Francisco's Chinese New Year parade were moved into position, ready to dazzle the crowds.
Master float builder Stepahie Mufson says each year she sets out to outdo what she's done in years past, and this year's floats will amaze.
"T-mobile is going to be really gorgeous with great lighting," said Mufson. "Southwest which is always close to my heart is going to have these animated 2020 numbers that's going to be really fun to watch."
With persistent rumors and lingering, concerns about the coronavirus organizers are saying they've been in constant communication with health officials and they say it is safe to proceed.
"It's everybody's consensus that it's safe," said Harlan Wong from the Chinese Chamber of Commerce. "That it's low risk and that everybody should not cancel their events."
Wong says the parade isn't just a part of civic pride, it's also important to the city's bottom line. With reports that some restaurants are seeing 30% to 50% less business since rumors spread about coronavirus, the chamber is encouraging people to come out and celebrate.
"People need to go out and enjoy themselves. After all this is a celebration, people need to go out and support the community," said Wong.
KTVU has partnered with the parade for years, riding our own float and televising it for those who can't make it.
Don Thompson has worked the parade for 33 years and says this year they'll have 24 microphones along the route to pick up every sound, and HD cameras to capture the pageantry for those at home. But, he says it's always amazing to watch in person.
He remembers plenty of years where the parade has had to contend with rain, and says for those looking to come out this year even the weather is cooperating.
"So to have a sunny day is a blessing, and it's a great reason to come out and be here first hand and hear it and see it right in front of you," said Thompson.
On Saturday, more than 100 different groups take part in the parade from schools to Kung Fu studios.