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Lunar New Year roars in with Flushing parade on Main Street

The streets of Flushing were strewn with confetti and filled with music last weekend as thousands of borough residents lined up along Main Street to watch the Flushing Lunar Parade, which celebrated the Year of the Tiger.

Queens rang in the Chinese New Year Saturday morning with an estimated 4,000 attendees stretched from Sanford Avenue down to Northern Boulevard to watch the massive parade.

Marching bands wearing a variety of colors played traditional Chinese music, while large floats for the 2010 Census, the Falun Gong, the Korean American Association of Queens and the First United Methodist Church as well as numerous Flushing businesses made their way down the crowded strip.

Borough residents said they turned out for the parade to hear the music and take in the colorful sights.

“I come here every year,” said Andrew Chen, of Flushing. “I live in the area, so I’m used to it, but I thought I’d step outside to see the parade. It’s nice to see the streets shut down to celebrate the new year.”

Steven Chen, who lives in Long Island but works in the community, said he has been attending the event for the past five years.

“I like the big bands and the different decorations,” he said. “They are very creative.”

Large Year of the Tiger banners adorned floats along Main Street, while marchers held up Chinese, Taiwanese and Korean flags and balloons of varying colors sailed through the air.

A who’s who of Queens elected officials carried a large banner reading “2010 Lunar New Year Parade,” including Borough President Helen Marshall, City Comptroller John Liu, state Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing), state Sens. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) and Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) and City Councilman Peter Koo (R-Flushing).

David Meadow, of Astoria, saw the Lunar New Year parade for the first time this year. He and friend Luke Miller, of Boston, tried scallion pancakes prior to watching the marchers make their way down Main Street.

“The really long dragons were great and the drummers were good, too,” Meadow said. “There were three or four different brigades of big kettle drums.”

Gary Lam, of Rego Park, said he was attending the festival for the second time this year and that he enjoyed listening to the varieties of music played in the parade.

“I liked the Korean drums,” he said. “We just wanted to get out, so we decided to come and watch it.”

The parade began at 11 a.m. at 37th Avenue and Union Street in front of the 109th Precinct in Flushing and then turned onto Main Street at Sanford Avenue before culminating at 39th Avenue and Main Street.

Various Chinese cultural activities and performances were held at Queens Crossing on 39th Avenue following the parade and the day’s festivities ended with a fireworks display in downtown Flushing.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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