Mar 6, 2011 7:48 PM
Tradition marched through the streets of Marysville Saturday. The 131st Bok Kai Festival brought thousands from all across California. To watch and participate in a parade, which passes by the temple that inspired it all. "This is the first temple ever reckoned in the state of California by the rail workers and gold workers," dragon dancer Andrew Wong says.
And this annual tradition celebrates the birthday of the Chinese water god. Candice Fresquez, event volunteer says, "The Bok Kai water God is to bring water and rain to the area for crops and orchards. It's also to prevent Marysville from flooding."
More than 5 thousand people from all over the state came to watch. And roughly one hundred groups participated in the parade. Which organizers say is the oldest continuously held parade in California. Parade goers ranged from martial arts groups and dragon dancers, to marching bands and old fashioned cars. Something for everyone.. Fisher Rhoades, a parade watcher says, "I like when they climb upon the pole and start dancing with the dragon.." Connor Rentz says "I like the go-carts. I like the people riding on them. It's cool."
After 2 hours of entertainment, the parade finally came to a close with the traditional 150-foot dragon that wrapped around 2 strings of fire crackers to end with a bang. But the parade is only the beginning of the two day festival. The celebration continues on Sunday with the tradition of the good luck rings. "They're going to shoot off the rings from the temple which are blessed by the temple.. people here will fight for the rings which bring good luck," Andrew says.
Not everyone will catch a good luck ring Sunday, but everyone caught a good show Saturday. Kenny Chee, Parade Pyro-Technician says "It's a good way to promote. As you see so many different races celebrate and share our history, our culture from our ancestors.. That can be enjoyed from all nationalities."