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San Francisco’s Chinatown celebrates 1st annual Holiday Light Fest amid business woes

San Francisco (KGO) — San Francisco’s Chinatown has been hit particularly hard during the pandemic, and business owners say they are still struggling.

But on Monday night, for the first time, there was a holiday light festival there. The Chinatown Holiday Light Fest begins Monday and runs through the end of the year.

Dragon celebrations were heard in San Francisco’s Chinatown on Monday night.

But this night is more than just those unique sounds.

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This evening is all about the holiday lights hanging in Chinatown’s many businesses.

“It’s actually the first time Chinatown is lit up for Christmas,” said Nancy Yu Low of the Chinatown Historical and Cultural Association.

Frank Chui happens to own the Hang Ah Tea Room, America’s oldest dim sum restaurant, which is 102 years old.

Still, Chuy says his business and others in Chinatown are taking a hit due to the quiet financial district and what he describes as a lack of convention traffic.

“I think I struggle the most within San Francisco. I basically eat 10-20% of my normal office lunch. 2019,” said Chui.

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But there’s an optimism in there, a holiday spirit mixed with dragons and colorful lights funded by a $5,000 grant from Avenue Greenlight.

Initially, we thought 20-30 companies would be interested in holiday lights.

“In three days, 150 merchants signed up and they all happily decorated and cleaned up their shops,” said Yu Law.

“Come to Chinatown and come see the lights!” Police Commissioner Larry Yi said.

Chinatown business owners say this year is going to be tough and they hope people will make the decision to do some holiday shopping in their neighborhood.

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