Crowd converges near Friendship Archway for Chinese New Year celebration


At just 33-years-old, Aisha Bowe has enjoyed a meteoric rise to aerospace engineer at NASA and STEMBoard founder and CEO. (Courtesy Aisha Bowe)

Aisha Bowe (right) posing with retired NASA astronaut Bernard A. Harris, Jr. (Courtesy Aisha Bowe)

Aisha Bowe (third from right) poses with Nichelle Nichols (third from left), the iconic actress who played Lt. Uhura in the original Star Trek television series. (Courtesy Aisha Bowe)

Aisha Bowe and former NASA astronaut and administrator Charles Bolden. (Courtesy Aisha Bowe)

(L to R) Cameron Diaz, Nicole Richie and Aisha Bowe at PearlX. (Courtesy of Aisha Bowe)

Aisha Bowe (right) and Paul Henderson at NASA Ames in Mountain View, California. Bowe spent six years with NASA. (Courtesy Aisha Bowe)

WASHINGTON — Folks lined the streets of downtown D.C. Sunday afternoon to celebrate Chinese New Year. It was a community affair to ring in the year of the pig, which represents wealth, fun and good fortune.

A crowd several rows deep packed the streets around the Friendship Archway in Chinatown. People stood on bus stop benches, clustered by restaurant entryways and huddled together behind metal stanchions to watch the parade.

The parade and ceremony was hosted by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association — an umbrella group which represents 30 Chinese-American organizations across the D.C. area.

A procession of city officials, including Mayor Muriel Bowser and several city council members, led the parade, followed by a dozens of area community clubs and educational organizations.

One group also carried enlarged photos to honor Chinese Americans who served in World War II.

It was a frigid afternoon, but the low temperatures didn’t stop celebrants from braving the cold to watch the fireworks.

Fernando, who declined to give his last name, came with his family from Northern Virginia to take part in Sunday’s huge party. It was his first time attending.

“It’s fun, it’s fun,” Fernando said. “It’s a little cold,” he added with a smile.

He said he’ll be back next year.