Preparations under way for SF Chinese New Year Parade

Preparations are under way for the 2017 New Year Festival and Parade in San Francisco set for Saturday, Feb. 11.

The International Festival and Events Association has named the Bay Area's long-standing event one of the top parades in the world.

This year, Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade will open with a special performance by Cirque Du Soleil's KA. The acrobatic troupe is currently performing at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Parade organizers say members of the cast are from around the world, with more than 20 percent of the KA performers from China or of Chinese heritage.

The Cirque Du Soleil troupe is one of more than 100 groups slated to participate in the colorful parade which will also include bands, lion dances, martial arts demonstrations, and elaborate floats.

Organizers say float builders are already busy and plan to work up to the last minute decorating floats. 

This year's Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year festival will celebrate the Year of the Rooster.

The rooster is the 10th of the 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac.

Those born in the Year of the Rooster are said to be very observant, hardworking, resourceful, courageous and talented.

The holiday is observed in China, Vietnam and other Asian countries and is recognized as a time for family gatherings and thanksgiving.

The festivities begin with the new moon on the first day of the new year and end on the full moon after 15 days.

This year, the Lunar New Year officially begins on Jan. 28.

San Francisco's big event is set to get under way at  5:15 pm on Feb. 11.

An estimated one million people are expected to line the parade route. 

Organizers have compiled a list to help parade goers plan their trip, offering a guide for parking as well as public transit options. 

General viewing of the parade is free.

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

You can also catch the parade on KTVU Fox 2. We will be carrying the event live.