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Lunar New Year celebrations in San Francisco Chinatown brings together communities old and new

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — In the Bay Area, Lunar New Year celebrations took over the streets of San Francisco’s Chinatown.

As always they are colorful and people from all over the world descend on the neighborhood to get a taste of it.

Little dragons, loud dragons, and large Dragons — San Francisco kicked off Lunar New Year Saturday.

Mayor London Breed welcomed the community to the celebration in Portsmouth Square in the heart of Chinatown.

MORE: What is Lunar New Year and how is it different from Chinese New Year?

Drumming, music, firecrackers and a 100-foot dragon, represented a strong Year of the Dragon.

“We were from Hong Kong, so like, it’s kind of hard to find the same kind of festive atmosphere here in the US and this is the closest thing to it,” said San Francisco resident Tai Ho Kwong.

Grant Avenue was packed with people from different generations and backgrounds.

“That’s what makes San Francisco so unique, right, is that it’s a melting pot of different cultures and people can enjoy each other and get that sense of community,” said Ho Kwong.

LUNAR NEW YEAR: Year of the Dragon celebrations kick off across the Bay Area

“It’s great weather today. We really lucked out with the weather,” said Noel McMichael, San Francisco resident.

McMichael is celebrating with his mother and sons, one of them finding the beat.

“My son goes to a Chinese American school here in the city, so he has awareness that way, and it was his idea to come today,” McMichael said.

The traditional sights and sounds were conjuring childhood memories for some.

MORE: San Francisco gears up for Super Bowl, Lunar New Year celebrations this weekend

“I have a lot of memories just celebrating the New Year, getting dim sum with my family and seeing the Lion Dancers come out,” said Oakland resident Lydia D’Angelo.

And for others, the Year of the Dragon is their first celebration.

“I’m new to the city, and I’ve never seen Lunar New Year, so I thought I’d come out see this is where it’s all happening,” said Cameron Skarritt from San Francisco.

“I’ve never been here before. I’ve never experienced it before. So, I think coming down here and having it so welcoming and free and one has been great,” said George Valenzuela, Sacramento resident.

“I think everyone should experience this at least once in their life. It’s colorful, it’s vibrant. Try the different foods, the music. It’s a great way to spend the beginning of the Lunar New Year,” said Mary Ann Corbin, also from Sacramento.

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