Chengdu pan­das join Macy’s pa­rade

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By HEZI JIANG in New York hez­i­jiang@chi­nadai­

“China, wel­come!” a woman shouted from the crowd at­tend­ing the Macy’s Thanks­giv­ing Day Pa­rade in New York City.

Com­ing to­wards her was a float called Chengdu, named for the city in south­ern China that’s known as the home of gi­ant pan­das.

Sur­round­ing the float were danc­ing panda char­ac­ters — 42 stu­dents from two New York mid­dle and high schools had trained for the past two months to par­tic­i­pate in the 90th Macy’s pa­rade.

About 3.5 mil­lion spec­ta­tors were gath­ered along the route from West 75th street on Cen­tral Park West to the Macy’s mall on West 34th Street and Sixth Av­enue.

“It feels re­ally good to be a panda,” said Je­nine Hines, a 12th grader from Evan­gel Chris­tian School wear­ing a fuzzy panda hat.

She had got­ten up at 4 o’clock in the morn­ing to join the other 19 stu­dents and their dance teacher at their cam­pus in Long Is­land City and ride the bus to Cen­tral Park West.

This is the school’s sec­ond year par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Macy’s Thanks­giv­ing Day Pa­rade. Last year, their stu­dents were also part of the dance group for the Chi­nese-themed float “Stone For­est”.

This will be the third con­sec­u­tive year that a Chi­nese-themed float has joined the iconic pa­rade in New York. The city of Bei­jing and prov­ince of Yun­nan were fea­tured in the last two years, re­spec­tively.

The Chengdu float, pre­sented jointly by the Sino-Amer­i­can Friend­ship As­so­ci­a­tion and the city gov­ern­ment of Chengdu to­gether with Macy’s, also high­lighted other tourist at­trac­tions of the city, in­clud­ing the Du­jiangyan Ir­ri­ga­tion Sys­tem (orig­i­nally con­structed around 256 BC by the State of Qin) and Mount Qingcheng, an im­por­tant cen­ter of Tao­ism.

“Through the pan­das we are in­tro­duc­ing Chengdu to Amer­ica,” said Zhang Qiyue, China’s con­sul gen­eral in New York. “We had a suc­cess­ful US-China tourism year in 2016. We are plan­ning to bring even more tourism-re­lated events next year.”

The pa­rade brought peo­ple from ev­ery cor­ner of the world to the Big Ap­ple.

It was Sofia Rego’s third pa­rade ex­pe­ri­ence. She came down from Hud­son Val­ley, New York. Though she was too far away to see the floats and dancers, she was thrilled to see the big char­ac­ter bal­loons float­ing up above.

“I’m into the pa­rade,” she said. “I like the ex­cite­ment, the whole hol­i­day spirit!”

The Millers from Austin, Texas, planned their trip six months ago to see the pa­rade. Sit­ting in the front row wrapped in a ho­tel blan­ket, they said they ar­rived at 6:15 am. Four hours later, 8-year-old Joey Miller was still hav­ing fun. He said the Pikachu float was his fa­vorite.

It was Pan Ming’s first trip to New York. He came with nine other friends to per­form Sichuan opera on the Chengdu float.

“I like it here,” he said. “The peo­ple of New York are so warm and friendly. I’m here to in­vite them to my beau­ti­ful city.”


Clock­wise from top left: A Chi­nese-themed float joins the 90th Macy’s Thanks­giv­ing Day Pa­rade on Thurs­day in New York City. This year’s dis­play fo­cused on Chengdu, the city known as home of the gi­ant panda. A Char­lie Brown float makes its way down 6th Av­enue dur­ing the Macy’s Thanks­giv­ing Day Pa­rade. Chil­dren wait to see their fa­vorite bal­loon char­ac­ters. More than 3.5 mil­lion spec­ta­tors came to watch the pa­rade.

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