Popular SF Chinese New Year Parade will celebrate Year of the Rooster

A long-standing and beloved annual tradition returns to San Francisco on Saturday, February 11. The Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade will usher in the Year of the Rooster with more than 100 groups this year taking part in the festival, which has been named one of the world's top parades.

It also boasts as the largest celebration of its kind outside of Asia.

The famous festival dates back to the 1860's after the Gold Rush, established by Chinese leaders in San Francisco who hoped to educate the community about their culture. 

Over the years, it has delighted countless spectators who look forward to the colorful procession that includes elaborate floats, costumed performers, marching bands, and firecrackers.

And of course, there is the much anticipated crowd favorite: the Golden Dragon "Gum Loong." This year, more than 100 men and women from the martial arts group, White Crane will be carrying the 268 foot dragon.

The procession will begin at Second and Market Streets, go west on Market to Kearny, then up Post, east on Powell, down Sutter, and back to Kearny, to end at Columbus Avenue.

Hundreds of thousands are expected to pack the parade route hours before the event, set to get under way at 5:15 pm.

General viewing of the parade is free.

But you can purchase tickets for bleacher seating on Kearny St. between Sacramento and California Streets.

Those who want to watch the parade from the comforts of their home, tune into KTVU Fox 2. We will be carrying the event live.