Citing recent surges in COVID-19 cases — locally, nationally, and globally — and given the fact that there's still no vaccine available, organizers of SF's annual Chinese New Year Parade have decided to cancel this year's cavalcade celebrating the holiday.
2020 has laid waste to many of our favorite events. Folsom Street Fair, San Francisco Pride, Outside Lands, and more saw their in-person happenings evolve into virtual affairs. (But as we said prior: "Inside Lands" was, actually, pretty good.) Alas, it's looking like at least the first few months of 2021 will evoke some semblances of deja vu, with the in-person 2021 San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade already being axed.
Decision ⭐️ 2021: The LIVE parade is canceled, but in its place on 2/20/21 will be a Parade Broadcast Special @ 6PM & a special livestreamed Parade Preshow @ 4:30PM! Official press release to be posted on the website!— Chinese New Year Festival & Parade (@chineseparade) November 1, 2020
.#chineseparade #chinesenewyear #yearoftheox #virtualparade pic.twitter.com/A8zpubCjeE
“We must deal with our current conditions and recognize that plans for everyone’s safety in the future is our most important responsibility,” said the San Francisco Chinese Chamber of Commerce said in a news release published by KPIX. “The Chamber decided to cancel the live 2021 Chinese New Year Festivities.”
As it stands right now, large gatherings are prohibited by health officials in California; the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) still recommend against holding large events amid fears of those happenings becoming “super spreader” events for COVID-19; San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade — one of the largest of its kind in the entire world — often attacks hundreds of thousands of bystanders and festival attendees.
Though, don't fret just yet. Much like other events that have needed to shape-ship in 2020, the beloved San Francisco tradition — which has been honoring Chinese culture, community, and heritage for over 160 years now — will still have a celebration.
Like this year's SF Pride and Outside Lands festival, it’ll just have to be a digital and socially distant experience.
“For the first time, we will be displaying a few of our colorful and culturally decorated floats to provide the public a rare opportunity to view these beautiful creations up close,” chamber officials said to the local CBS affiliate.
And to celebrate the Year of the Ox, painted statues will be displayed around San Francisco in a similar vein to the Hearts in San Francisco project. There will also be a "Parade Broadcast Special" airing locally on Saturday, February 20, 2021, at 6 p.m. to celebrate the happening in lieu of the IRL parade.
Started in the 1860s by Chinese immigrants in San Francisco, the parade was ideated to help break down walls and erect bridges, helping to educate the greater community about Chinese culture. Since 1958, the parade has been under the direction of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and is currently considered one of the foremost Chinese New Year celebrations in the world.
Check out some of our favorite scenes from this past February's 162nd Chinese New Year Parade — before... you know... the world turned on its head a month later — here.
Image: Members of a dragon team perform during the San Francisco Chinese New Year Festival and Parade circa March 3, 2007. (Courtesy of Getty Images via Justin Sullivan / Staff)