The Three Amigos

Karen Eng
Karen Eng

The Three Amigos

by Karen Eng

I grew up in the 50s in San Francisco’s North Beach District, which is about a 15-minute walk to Chinatown.  I remember the Chinese New Year Parade used to be on Grant Avenue and we watched it sitting on the sidewalk curb covered with a piece of newspaper.  The parade remained a local community event along Grant Avenue until the mid-1970’s when the fire department and the ever-growing crowds dictated that the parade route be moved to wider streets. When KTVU/Fox2 started televising the parade in 1987, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce realized that although the parade would still represent the community, its growth would demand a commitment to higher quality and corporate sponsorship involvement. The Chinese New Year celebration was expanded to a two-week Festival comprised of a two-day Flower Market Fair, a two-day Chinatown Community Fair, the Miss Chinatown USA Pageant, Fashion Show and Coronation Ball, and the Chinese New Year Parade.

In 1996, I began my duties on behalf of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce as the Public Relations Director.  I help create the chineseparade.com website with Bennett Chin (webmaster).  For over 25 years, I had a lot of fun working alongside my two amigos, Beverly Lee and Donna Ng.  Beverly is my younger sister but she was our boss at the parade office.  Donna and I “happily” did everything she asked us to do.  I always said there would be no parade without Beverly.  Someone had to instruct the SFPD to close down the streets, divert MUNI from our parade route, find a “Dragon Warehouse” every year to house our 288’ Golden Dragon and costumes, and send all the information and forms to the parade units.  If anyone needs something done, Beverly’s name is always called out in unison! 

We Three Amigos even outlasted a couple of Parade Directors, Wayne Hu and Arnold Chin.  Harlan Wong was my third Parade Director. He was a fun and funny leader, especially in our lively parade meetings which included a delicious lunch provided by him. We all knew our jobs and he knew we would all get it done.  We also worked closely with Lainar Chan, Mavis Ngo, Ed Lew, and Rita Lopes from the Chinese Chamber of Commerce.  We were a fantastic group!

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