Chinese New Year Parade: Family TraditionBy Victor Lock
My earliest memories of the Chinese New Year Parade started when I was 4 years old. Every year my father would clear the elevated storefront display case and place seats there so we could watch the parade from our family box seats. Afterward, he would leave to assist with the parade.
My family has a long history with San Francisco Chinese Chamber & Parade. Started with my grandfather’s import & export business on Grant Avenue which my father took over after serving in US Army Air Corps during World War II.
Much later, I found out my father Frank Lock was Treasurer, and his distant cousin Loy Locke was President of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce for several years. They were distance cousins but behaved and interacted like 1st cousins.
Family six degree of separation story. Pamala Woon, Miss Chinatown 2001, is my 2nd cousin and Gary Locke Parade Grand Marshal is Loy Locke’s nephew. They both participated in the parade the same year but didn’t know they were related.
While attending college, I became active in community service and was later involved with the Chinatown Parade in the 1990s. My first task was driving my SUV to escort all floats from the setup warehouse to Market Street where we organized them in parade order. Over time, worked in every parade section and with many groups eventually ended up in Section A (Vanguard/VIP) and currently Section A Leader.
Chinese consider water or rain a symbol of prosperity. However, this is an ultimate test of a Parade Marshal’s long-term commitment and dedication. Some years we have to work in the cold rain without shelter for about 7 hours!
I continue to participate and volunteer in the parade because it promotes family and community. By participating, I have developed new long-term friendships with fellow Marshals. They become my extended family and the parade is our annual family reunion. My bonus is every year someone in the crowd calls out my name unexpectedly along the parade route and I’m able to renew old friendships and meet their families.
My name is Victor Lock and “I’m a Chinese New Year Parade Marshal like my father and grandfather before me.”
Gung Hay Fat Choy! (May you become prosperous!)
Sun Nien Fai Lok! (Happy New Year!)