Chinatown celebrates the Year of the Dragon with Chicago Lunar New Year Parade

ByMichelle Gallardo and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Monday, February 19, 2024
Chinatown celebrates annual Lunar New Year Parade
The Chicago Lunar New Year Parade 2024 kicked off Sunday. The parade began on 24th Street and Wentworth Avenue in Chinatown.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The parade itself was only a few blocks long, and yet, it packed quite a punch, attracting tens of thousands of people from all over the city to a booming Chinatown community.

"We love coming out here. Every single time, we come out here. They love it," said attendee Anahi Roldán.

Maybe it was the power of the dragon. Certainly, Sunday could hardly have been a more perfect day for a parade celebrating the Chinese New Year.

"It's really cool. It's nice to experience other cultures and expose them to other cultures," said Robin Wells, another parade-goer.

The dragon is held in high regard as an extraordinary creature destined to bring luck and success. It was everywhere on Sunday along Chicago's Wentworth Avenue as a symbol of an-ever growing Chinatown community.

"The fact that we continue to grow and no other Chinatowns are actually growing in the country is a testament to the community, to the resources that are here, to the organizations," said 11th Ward Ald. Nicole Lee.

The first Asian-American woman to serve on the Chicago City Council, Lee joined ABC7 Anchor Judy Hsu as the grand marshal of Sunday's parade, which is one of the city's oldest. Chinatown has been celebrating the Lunar New Year in one way or another since first moving locations from downtown 112 years ago.

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

"This is a good place to visit. You see all the brand new restaurants, gift shops and we have more and more people coming in," said parade co-organizer Anita Lau. "We want people to come in, enjoy and discover Chinatown."

Discovering Chinatown is what thousands of families from across the city and suburbs were doing Sunday, with every nationality and background represented in the faces of parade-goers eagerly taking in the traditional dragon and lion dancing teams, colorful floats and marching bands.

"I wish we had this in Nashville. There's not just enough people to put this together in Nashville, but this is awesome and I'm so happy to have been able to do this," said attendee Francie Gottlieb.

Next year is the year of the snake.