NEW YORK (AP) – Lion dancers pranced back and forth and colors burst from a thousand cylindrical confetti poppers on Sunday as revelers celebrated the lunar new year with a parade through Chinatown. The parade capped a week of festivities marking the Year of the Dog, 4073 on the Chinese calendar.

And there were plenty of dogs – from purebred Pekingeses in brocade jackets to mongrels wearing “adopt me” signs.

Several animal welfare groups used the occasion to remind the public that shelters are full of dogs that need good homes.

Sunshine, a mixed-breed puppy, strained at the leash held by Karen Kobus, a volunteer with the Bide-A-Wee shelter on Manhattan’s East Side.

“He’s very friendly and good with children,” Kobus said.

There also were floats, marching bands and serpentine dragons held aloft on poles. Beauty queens in sequined cheongsams waved from vintage convertibles.

Ester Commisso, of Franklin Square, on Long Island, was watching because her son was driving one of the cars. “I never saw anything so big,” she said. “It’s beautiful.”

The hundreds of thousands of people crowding Chinatown’s narrow streets made it difficult to move. Michelle Le, of Brooklyn, said she was stuck for half an hour near the parade’s starting point, at Canal and Mott streets.

“I think this year it’s more crowded,” she said.

AP-ES-02-05-06 1645EST

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