SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Sunny weather, cultural celebrations and a bit of soccer fever got people enjoying the sights and sounds of the city on Saturday.
“The turnout is better than expected. With everything that’s happening right now, we didn’t even know if that was going to happen – so far the turnout is looking great,” said Wayne Chan, street festival coordinator for the Chinese New Year in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
The street festival and parade helped kick off the weekend leading up to the Lunar New Year, an important opportunity for people to fill the streets of Chinatown and support businesses.
People also enjoyed the sunshine along the Embarcadero on Saturday afternoon.
“I enjoy it when everyone’s back outside,” said Keaton Quentin, a new San Francisco resident who walked by the waterfront.
Others on the Embarcadero were still wary but still excited to be out in public. They weren’t sure how crowded the streets would be on Saturday.
“It’s scary being outside because there are so many people around, but it’s also really nice to just be around people again,” said Sanjeevani Lakshmivarahan.
Whether in Chinatown or on the waterfront, there were proud 49ers fans with sports gear showing their support for their team. Some still hadn’t decided exactly where they were going to watch Sunday’s NFC Championship game against the Rams, but they were still keen to get together.
“As long as you play it safe and do what you have to do, you know how to protect your household and your friends,” said Danya Chapman.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health expected large crowds this weekend due to multiple events. They are issuing guidance encouraging people to make sure they are up to date on vaccines and boosters before joining a large crowd.
Masks were also suggested, regardless of whether they were required around many people. This weekend may not bring people back to normal, but it did make them feel like they’re one step closer.
“It means a lot to entrepreneurs. They’re glad it’s going on like this. We’re seeing a lot of tourism returning to the area,” Chan said.