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10th Annual Tourism Parade 2009


We’re big fans of the Yichang Tourism Parade. We love the bands, the unique costumes and the puffy Yangtze Sturgeon walking down the street reminding us to celebrate the fact that we live so close to the Three Gorges. Lucky us!

In the midst of my parade excitement, I asked Hubs if we could take video of the parade this year so you could really get a feel for a Chinese parade.

Unfortunately, this year the parade was quite different.

Yichang Tourism Parade from on Vimeo.

Past parades: 2006 2007

Apparently, Yichang and Chongqing both claim and celebrate the Three Gorges. Well, we are at opposite ends. Yichang hosts their parade just before the October 1st National Day while Chongqing celebrates just before the May 1st Labor Day.

This is the final year for the tourism parade as we have known it. Both cities have decided to combine their efforts and host a larger parade in a selected city on the Yangtze between Chongqing and Wuhan. Each year the parade will be hosted by a different city.

I’m not sure if it was because this is the last parade or the fact that China’s 60th birthday is around the corner, but this year the idea was to only have floats so the parade route could be longer. The floats would essentially circle the entire city twice. Consequently, the floats would speed by at rapid pace.

Don’t blink or you’ll miss the aircraft carrier.

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The boys keeping their eyes on the fast moving floats. Raffe has an interesting view of the parade.

That evening we celebrated life in Yichang with 22,000 fireworks. Our friend happened to work at a building that is on the riverbank next to where the fireworks were lit off – meaning we didn’t have to make our way through some two hundred thousand spectators. We stood on a fifth floor balcony and watched as they literally exploded in front of our faces. Incredible.

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Hubs, who is accustomed to fireworks, has never seen a larger or longer performance. It lasted 40 minutes with hardly a break. That averages out to nearly 9 fireworks a second! Hubs loved it. Schäfer thought it was too loud.  I understand, since there was quite a cacophony as every car alarm within a thirty block radius was going off.

The fireworks finished and hundreds of thousands of people started moving at once. Schäfer went to sleep in the ergo. Hubs and I walked for a couple of miles then waited for the bus. Unwilling to squeeze through the crowds (thousands of students mobbing buses), we lucked out to find a taxi with a stranger going our way. We made it home by 10:30pm.

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