CHINATOWN — Graced with clear skies, Chinatown geared up to ring in the Year of the Snake with the city's 101st annual Lunar New Year Parade Sunday.
Last year, about 10,000 people showed up in Chinatown for the annual event, and according to event organizers, at least as many were expected for this year's edition.
"This is a special time in the year for families and people to welcome in the new year," said Gene Lee, an advisor on the Chicago Chinatown Special Events Committee, which is overseeing the parade.
The event kicked off with fireworks at 12:45 p.m.
This year's parade had 45 sets of floats, high school marching bands, performance teams and other groups that began their journey from 24th Street and Wentworth Avenue to Wentworth and Cermak Road Sunday.
Among the notable performers were the Tong Liang Dragon Dance team from northwestern China, which made its first-ever trek to the United States.
Lee said he was fond of the event because of children's reactions.
"I love how children respond to this day, to all things they don't always see or hear," Lee added. "There's the aroma of duck. For children especially, their senses are keen to this."
Alina Yuen of Rogers Park brought her six-year-old daughter Me, who is half-Chinese, to the event.
"It's a cultural event and it's important for her to learn about her heritage," Alina Yuen said. "She's excited for the fireworks."