I passed dozens of mobile homes as I drew close to today’s 2013 Orange County Tet Parade – a massive celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year, in Little Saigon. I finally arrived at Bushard St. and found a parking spot in a residential neighborhood, then walked less than a mile to the east side of the parade grandstand, on Bolsa Ave. There were crowds already forming – a mix of young children and their parents, and many older Vietnamese Americans too.
Unbeknownst to me, the gay activists who caused so much angst this week by suing the parade organizers, after they were banned from marching in the parade, had set up west of the grandstand. A few of the politicians who participated in the parade stopped by, according to media reports, to talk to the activists. One of the elected officials, RSCCD Trustee Jose Solorio, climbed out of his car and refused to go any further, opting to stay with the protesters.
Most local Democratic elected officials skipped the parade, but Assemblyman Tom Daly was there and although he did stop by to visit with the gay activists, he also participated in the parade. Click here to see pictures I took of the politicians who were there as well as a summary of who did and didn’t show up today. The entire Santa Ana City Council snubbed our Vietnamese American residents but the Garden Grove City Council was there.
The parade was full of reminders of the sad loss of South Vietnam, but there was pride too as many survivors of the Vietnam War marched in the parade, often in full military uniform.
The parade also featured local high school marching bands, including the nearby La Quinta High School. There were also entire troupes of martial arts students, from various disciplines, and the customary dragons and traditional performers. And there were floats, as you can see in the slideshow above.
The parade stretched from 9 am to past 11 am, along Bolsa Ave., from Magnolia to Bushard St. Many in the crowd munched on food purchased from local restaurants – Lee’s Sandwiches chief among them. I stopped by a Lee’s after the parade and was amazed that I could buy a sandwich and a large Thai Iced Tea for less than seven dollars.
This was most definitely a family event and the politicians who were there got some great exposure to a community that votes in every election.