Our Family’s Chinese New Year TraditionBy Linda and Marlena Jung
Our family’s involvement with the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade actually started out as an after-school activity at Marlena’s school. We started in 2003 as banner holders with West Portal Elementary School’s Chinese Performing Arts Program (CPAP). As first-time participants, this was very exciting to be part of one of San Francisco’s Chinese New Year traditions. We got the full parade experience, including the rain. Over the years, we were a part of various CPAP parade groups. All three of us moved up the ranks with Wesley and Linda taking on roles of coordinators and Marlena as a student-teacher until she graduated high school.
When Marlena started college, our family still wanted to find a way to be involved with the Chinese New Year Parade. We had always wondered what it would be like to be on the other side as a volunteer after thirteen years as participants. Wesley had a friend that was a part of the parade that connected us in 2016, and we started our new roles as marshals. Our first time as marshals was exciting and very gratifying, making sure that the groups that we were taking care of had the same great experience that we had as participants.
From taking the MUNI down to 2nd and Market, to getting the snazzy patch, to catching up with other parade volunteers, being involved with one of San Francisco’s Chinese New Year traditions has become one of our family’s traditions. Seeing the parade floats live as well as all the visitors that come to watch is truly a whole different experience from watching on TV. You just have to be there.
We’ve gone through a whole zodiac cycle as participants, and we can’t wait to volunteer through another and beyond!
Interested in volunteering? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org