JACKSONVILLE — As far as 4-year-old Makayla Dean was concerned, Jacksonville's Lion and Dragon Dance Parade Saturday was a scene out of the animated Disney movie "Mulan."
The parade, a kickoff event to Jacksonville's annual Chinese New Year celebration, boasted a colorful montage of Chinese dragons and serpents that paraded down California Street four blocks to Fifth Street. It started at 10:30 a.m. and kicked off the daylong event. "That's in 'Mulan,' too!" Makayla said with a grin as one of the beasts trundled past.
Her mother, Stephanie, said she finally made it to the parade after wanting to see it for years. It's a good way to honor the Chinese culture, "and who doesn't love a parade?" she added.
Chinese lanterns and flags ran the street's length, and spectators packed both sides. In between paraded dancers, school children from Ruch Elementary, the Klamath County School District Chinese language class, international students dressed in traditional Chinese court clothes, and a variety of floats. "It's a nice way to celebrate the Chinese New Year," said parade-watcher Grant Miller-Francisco of Ashland.
The town's Chinese New Year celebration, hosted by the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce and the Southern Oregon Chinese Cultural Association, has been going on since 2001. "I thought it was one of the better parades in the valley, actually," said Chris Applegate, who came from Central Point with his daughters to see the event for the first time. "I liked that it was different. This was pretty cool."
Other activities during the day included music, cooking demonstrations, historic and informational talks on Chinese culture, events for children such as calligraphy and origami, and art exhibits.
The parade helped usher in the Year of the Snake. An animal on the Chinese zodiac, the snake brings Jacksonville's annual celebration full circle. The town's first Chinese New Year event honored that symbol.
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or firstname.lastname@example.org.