In cloudy but warm weather, a joyous crowd nearing 20,000 people turned out Saturday for the 98th annual Golden Dragon Lunar New Year Parade in Los Angeles' Chinatown to celebrate the Year of the Ox.
Patient onlookers, who lined North Broadway and Cesar Chavez Boulevard, waited for the parade units to scream "Gung hay fat choy!"--happy new year in Cantonese--even though the procession started nearly 90 minutes late.
Police said a suspicious package was discovered near the parade's reviewing stand on North Broadway and, rather than start the parade, the LAPD bomb squad was called in. The package turned out to contain dirty clothes.
The delay allowed parade units such as the Misty Isle Pipe Band to practice, delighting onlookers who waited for the parade's start near City Hall. "We do all kinds of events, but we've never had a delay like this," said bagpipe band member Richard Zigrang, 67.
When the parade finally began around 3:20 p.m., Stacy Woo, 10, and her two friends squealed in delight as the units turned onto Broadway from Cesar Chavez. "I like the dragon," she said as a long hand-held one snaked up the street.
"Just to see that is worth the wait," agreed her friend Kathy Fong, age 9.
The festivities mark the start of the year 4695 on the Chinese lunar calendar.