SQUIRREL HILL (KDKA) — The sun was shining and the sky was clear as parade-goers lined the streets of Squirrel Hill for a colorful, festive Lunar New Year parade.
More than 30 organizations and groups took part in Squirrel Hill’s third annual Lunar New Year Parade, celebrating the Year of the Dog.
When the parade began in 2016, it took place over about two blocks. Now, it’s grown to be about five blocks long.
Marian Lien, executive director for the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, has high hopes for the event’s future.
“I think we’re gonna go all the way around, down Forbes, all the way up to Oakland and then some,” Lien said. “I didn’t think this would happen. Here we are, in the third year.”
The Allerdice High School Marching Band, a fire-breather, dancers and Pittsburgh Police were among those participating in the parade.
Lien, who also serves as a commissioner on Governor Tom Wolf’s Advisory Commission On Asian-Pacific-American Affairs, says there are more than 50,000 Asian Americans in Allegheny County and about 14 percent of Squirrel Hill’s population is Asian-American.
“Now Pittsburgh as a city is really receptive to all of our newcomers and particularly our Asian-American community, so this is exciting,” Lien said. “I think that we’re ready to see something like this [parade] happen.”
Gurudev Dutt, of Squirrel Hill, says he’s seen the neighborhood become more diverse over the years and brought his children out to watch the parade.
“Squirrel Hill is an amazing neighborhood … I think the thing I value the most about it is the exposure that [my kids] get to different cultures,” he said, “and the fact that they get to see everything that makes America, which is that it’s got all these different types of people from all over the world who have come here and who are all trying to make America a better place and to make a better life for themselves, just like I did when I came here many years ago.”
Squirrel Hill residents weren’t the only ones in attendance. Parade-goers flocked to the celebration from all across the Pittsburgh area.
“I grew up in Hong Kong and sometimes I kind of miss all that, celebrating Lunar New Year with people who grew up in similar cultures,” Jessica Cheung, of Oakland, said, “and I kind of just miss that. And you don’t often see a lot of that in Pittsburgh.”
Jessica Semzock, of Brookline, said she’s attended the parade every year.
“It’s just a little bit different. The music’s a little bit different than we hear anywhere else,” Semzock said. “It’s a little bit more intimate, when you see the lion dancers and you’re getting up close and interacting with those. It’s just a nice, small neighborhood parade.”
The parade was the culmination of a two-week celebration in Squirrel Hill. The festivities kicked off on Saturday, Feb. 17, with live performances, arts and crafts and more.