History of The Parade & Festival
In honor of this country’s Bicentennial, the city of Stockton put out a call to various ethnic groups to participate in a city-wide, celebratory parade. The members of the Chinese community who worked together on the parade received glowing accolades for their efforts. It inspired those early pioneers to continue to present and share the Chinese culture to Stockton. Thus, the idea of a Chinese Festival was born.
The Chinese Benevolent Association and the founding members of the Chinese Cultural Society of Stockton (CCSS) worked to put on an innovative celebration in the hall of Confucius Church. It was a rousing success.
The first Festival set the framework for those that followed. The hall was lined with booths selling culinary delights, Chinese vegetables, and many other cultural offerings. But the highlight of the Festival was the entertainment. The newly formed Chinese Folk Dance Troupe of Stockton had a venue to show off their skills. Authentic, elaborate Chinese fashions were brought to the stage, modeled by local residents. Lion dances, martial arts, and cooking demonstrations were all part of the line up.
The Chinese New Year Festival outgrew the Church hall after two years and was moved to the Civic Auditorium where it has remained until this year. Dr. Paul K. Yee bestowed the committee with its formal name, the Chinese
Cultural Society of Stockton, and a legacy begun. Dr. George Wang and Shirley Ng diligently worked to achieve our non-profit status. Other founding members were, but not limited to, Conrad Mar and Keith Wong.
When the ambitious idea of the rebirth of a Chinese New Year’s Parade was developed by Carole Lew, it was suggested that both events be held on the same day. Unfortunately, the CCSS board is, and was, a small group of individuals who did not believe that they could do justice to both events at the same time.
Thus the Parade was first held in 2002 with a downtown Stockton route recognizing some of the historic locations of the early Chinese pioneers, with the Festival being held on a different weekend.
In 2009, CCSS was informed that the Civic Auditorium would be undergoing much-needed repairs and would not be available in March 2010. The discussion to combine the Festival and Parade was once again addressed with a positive outcome. Fate had played a hand into making CCSS move outside their comfort zone and take on a new venue.
This exciting collaboration has continued this year with the Chinese New Year Celebration (CNYC) of 2019. The “Year of the Pig” will be warmly welcomed with both a Parade and Festival held for all ages to enjoy in downtown Stockton.
There will be two professional lion dance performances during the Parade and again at the Festival. Quality entertainment of this nature is seldon seen locally, and at no charge! The committee has worked many hours to bring a dazzling array of performers to the streets of Stockton and the stage of the Civic Auditorium. We are proud to bring you this celebration and hope it creates many fun memories for you and your family.