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Hot Springs welcomes in the Year of the Rat

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HOT SPRINGS – With a thunderous kaboom from a homemade cannon, the small community of Hot Springs said goodbye to the Year of the Pig and welcomed in the Year of the Rat during their eighth annual parade and celebration of the Chinese New Year on Saturday afternoon.

“I’ve been here every year. It’s so festive,” said one parade goer wearing a rat mask with long whiskers and big floppy ears. “It brings in the New Year on a positive note.”

This year’s spirited spectacle included a large mechanical rat, an oversized purple pig and an all-star kazoo marching-band dressed like monkeys.  

Along the parade route, onlookers cheered as a brightly colored six-person 30-foot-long dragon and a 50-foot-long rainbow-colored fish made their zigzagged herky-jerky march down Main Street.

Many revelers got into the spirit by dressing like rats, while other marchers wore costumes of there favorite animals from past celebrations. The day culminated at the Hot Springs Senior Center as the whole community gathered for a good old-fashioned potluck dinner.

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