How It Started: 28 Years as a CNY Parade MarshalBy Russ Lowe
In 1992 when former Mayor Dianne Feinstein became the third woman elected to the United States Senate and the first woman US Senator from California, she was invited to be in the Chinese New Year Parade. I was her field representative and Asian Community Liaison. Her husband, Richard Blum, and Supervisor Gordon Lau had assignments to carry the Golden Dragon Head.
Jerry Lee invited me to help him at the staging area of Market and Second Street. At that time, the elected officials, community leaders, police, fire, and marching units lined up on Second Street. It was crowded and getting them to move out in order was a real challenge, because everyone and their cars would show up randomly. After about five years of this chaos, I got a bullhorn and Jerry put me in charge of the VIP Stagging team between Market and Mission on Second St.
Later, there were no marching units on our side, but we had up to six motorized cable cars, a giant hot rod, Lucky’s shopping cart, BART mobile, Sunset Scavenger antique trash truck, CHP cars, fire trucks from SF and Oakland, and at least 24 VIP cars.
I have a team of 5-6 marshals. My son, Marc, anchors down the Mission and Second Street entry point. We have our own two-way radios and the other team members are stationed between Marc and me to spot the vehicles that enter.
After a third of the parade units have moved past, we are finished with stagging and we walk the parade route to the disbanding area. I can only remember that in my 28 years, it only rained on the parade twice. Other years, it either rained before or after the parade. I have yet to see the entire parade nor the float constructions. But there is still time.
I enjoy volunteering – to know that everyone is enjoying the parade, all the colors, and firecrackers.
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