The Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade was named one of the top ten parades in the world by the International Festivals & Events Association.
It is the one of the only few remaining night illuminated parades in North America that is celebrated annually. It is also the biggest parade celebrating the lunar new year outside of Asia.
The festivity was first established in San Francisco in 1860 as a way to educate the community about its culture, which later grew and became the “largest celebration of Asian culture outside of Asia,” according to the official website.
The Chinese New Year Festival and Parade has been under the direction of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce since 1958.
“It’s an honor to serve as this year’s Grand Marshal and experience Lunar New Year in the United States,” the 55-year-old actress said in her statement. “This historic parade is a wonderful celebration that unites communities and promotes cultural exchange; two pursuits that are very close to my heart.”