SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – The annual Chinese New Year parade began with firecrackers for good luck, celebrating the year of the rat.

Families gathered at Market and 2nd streets where the festivities started.

“My wife is in the parade, she’s one of the rats holding up the sign and my daughter and son are in the parade too, it’s awesome, they’re 6 and 3,” Winston Wang said. “First time ever. It’s a first time for me too so it’s really exciting to be here.”

Everyone there had their own idea of what’s best of the parade.

“When they came out with all the trucks.”

“Bands. The bands are cool. Especially the big one that did the dancers.”

A mixture of bands and dancers carrying colorful flags followed by floats made their way around Union Square then to Chinatown.

Parade organizers said the crowd is much smaller this year due to fear of the coronavirus.

Even through public health officials said there’s low risk of catching the deadly virus in the Bay Area, some took extra measures.

“We just take precautions and I work in a lab so I have the masks.”

The parade dates back to the 1860’s.

Despite the fears this year, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce still put on a show.

“The lights and the moon, under the moon it’s so beautiful.”

The festivities continue Sunday with a street fair.

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