Preps for Chinese New Year Parade underway

There is a whirlwind of activity as preparations are underway for the annual San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade which takes place Saturday. The many acts involved are rehearsing down to the wire. 

A KTVU crew gives us a look at the many children and young people who will put on a colorful and spectacular show.  

On Wednesday evening, accompanied by the steady beat of drums, the children of San Francisco's West Portal Elementary practiced their balancing skills for the upcoming parade. 
"It feels scary, but once you get it, it doesn't feel that scary. It's pretty easy," Tristan Lee, a 9 year old stilt walker. 

Since 1987, generations of students at of this school have participated in the Chinese New Year Parade. Past students have returned to teach present students how to walk in their footsteps.
"We're very proud to be part of this program  that teaches elementary school about the Chinese culture and the tradition," Hannah Yee, a 17 year old former West Portal School. 
The twins started performing in the parade when they were ten. They say the experience has been inspirational. 
"I want to be a teacher.  This program mentoring little kids has opened my eyes to being a teacher,
said Megan Yee, Hannah's twin.  

Across town, in the Richmond District, a "sifu," Chinese for instructor, directs his kung fu students at the Shaolin Temple USA in  preparation for their performance at the parade. The theme:  vitality, energy, spirit. 

One ten-year-old says he  wants to help parade spectators learn about the Chinese culture.

"So people don't get discriminated because they act differently," says Jerry Hou, a 5th grader. 

The martial arts school and temple is a branch of the Shaolin Temple of China.

After weeks of practice,  the "sifu's" and students say they 're ready to show off their kung fu skills  in the parade. 

"I really like the people watching and clapping, cheering.  I'm really happy.  I'm really excited," says Heng Xiu, a sifu with Shaolin Temple USA

Practice makes perfect. the martial arts performers will be rehearsing Saturday, just hours before the start of the parade.   

They hope that many people will join them at the Chinese New Year Parade Saturday, February 23, 2019.