Here’s the entire Chinese Zodiac in plushy costume form. Plus a random panda and white tiger.
The parade featured a number of non-Chinese groups representing other East/South-East Asian cultures that also celebrate Lunar New Year. Most notable were the Koreans and Vietnamese in the parade. I’ve included some other faces in this post to show the general diversity of the audience in addition to the participants. That diversity I think is one of the strengths and beauties of this area – people from all cultures and walks of life coming together to enjoy a good festival, especially when the air temperature is hovering around freezing!
I went to ANOTHER Chinese New Year parade this past weekend, in Rockville, Maryland. Rockville is the county seat of Montgomery County, one of the most prosperous and most ethnically diverse counties in Maryland. They estimate that 17% of Montgomery County’s population is of East/South-East Asian origin, and growing. This is actually one of the new centers of the Asian community in the Washington DC metro area, along with Fairfax and Annandale in Northern Virginia. Although not gigantic, the parade in Rockville was several orders of magnitude larger than the one downtown DC in Chinatown (which is a pale shadow of its former self, now consisting of less than a dozen actual Chinese restaurants, perhaps a handful of other Chinese businesses, and a residential facility for the elderly, plus a bunch of other businesses like Fuddruckers, Comfort One Shoes, Legal Seafoods, a pair of Irish pubs, a Hooters(!!!) and a CVS pharmacy with Chinese-language signage trying to preserve the look of a real Chinatown). The parade was organized by the VisArts art center in Rockville, which is a terrific public/private partnership to make art accessible to the community. Here are a sampling of images from the parade and the crowds watching it.
All photos taken with my Rolleiflex 2.8E and a Metz 45 CL4 for fill-flash. That’s one of the great things about using a camera like a Rolleiflex – you can do fill-flash at any shutter speed so it works even in broad daylight. I’m very pleased with how well it worked – the Metz was new to me and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect – in fact, it worked beautifully and gave a very nice quality to the light. Now I just need to come up with a diffuser for the flash to soften it even more, and give a bigger catchlight.