City Desk

Chinese New Year Parade Goes Big

Monica Hesse reports in the Post that the annual Chinese New Year parade is changing rapidly—organizers have hired an agency to help them this year.

“We would like,” [Hon-YuenWong says — and he knows this is a big dream, but one might as well dream big — “we want to make it like Macy’s.”

For nearly 40 years, since its inception, Washington’s Chinese New Year parade has marched on a shoestring. Mom ’n’ pop. Dollar dreams on a dime budget for a city whose parade quotient is fairly low — Cherry Blossom, yes; Thanksgiving, no. The New Year parade had pageantry, firecrackers, crowds, all of it. But behind the scenes, putting on a parade is an exhausting business. “You need certified people to light the firecrackers,” Wong says, “and certified people to store the firecrackers, and more certified people to handle the firecrackers.” Last year, the entire budget for all of the pageantry was $23,000. The only performers to get paid were the high school marching band. The kids got free lunch.

Looks like this is more of the Disneyfication of Chinatown that Lydia DePillis warned us about.

Photo by Matt Dunn

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  • SteveKiviat

    I did not see the day of the parade listed. I think it is January 29, 2012, 2 - 5 p.m., Giant Firecracker set off at 3:45 p.m. Chinatown - on H Street, NW, between 6th and 8th Streets.

    There's also one the week before:

    January 21, 2012. Luther Jackson Middle School, 3020 Gallows Road, Falls Church, VA. The event, hosted by the Asian Community Service Center, offers live performances, New Year Parade, children's games, Chinese language and cooking workshop, a variety of Asian food and much more.