The long-running Tet Festival, a signature event in America’s largest Vietnamese American community, has been abruptly canceled following a dispute between organizers of the Lunar New Year event and city officials in Garden Grove, according to the Los Angeles Times. This event is normally held in February every year.
My sources tell me that there is a good chance that the Tet Festival may return to Santa Ana, where it used to be held years ago at Centennial Park. I am told that the Tet Festival organizers have reached out to Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido for help.
I think it would be a good fit for the Orange County Great Park, in Irvine, or Mile Square Park, in Fountain Valley, as well.
The event has traditionally been held at Garden Grove Park, a facility large enough to accommodate the tens of thousands who attend the colorful celebration. Garden Grove Councilwoman Dina Nguyen said the festival has cost the city nearly $1.2 million in the last 11 years, a figure that organizers said seemed inflated, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Garden Grove officials asked the group that puts on the Tet Festival to pay $75,000 to hold the annual Lunar New Year Tet Festival at Garden Grove Park, which they have hosted since 2002, according to the Voice of OC.
The City of Santa Ana charges the event promoter who puts on the City’s Fiestas Patrias and Cinco de Mayo events $50,000. Would the City of Santa Ana be willing to work with the Tet Festival without charging them an arm and a leg? These charges are largely spent to pay for police officers and city maintenance workers.
At an earlier news conference, leaders of the United Vietnamese Student Association Southern California said the $75,000 price tag is unreasonable. They charged the City Council with using the event to raise funds for the proposed Vietnam War Museum of America on Harbor Boulevard, which the students said is a conflict of interest, according to the Voice of OC.
It seems crazy for the City of Garden Grove to blow off the Tet Festival as Vietnamese voters are so valuable now.
Would you like to see the Tet Festival come back to Santa Ana? I think it would be a real feather in the City’s cap.