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Lunar New Year parade will roll through Little Saigon, celebrating service members and the Year of the Dog

The biggest party in Westminster’s Little Saigon is around the corner – and this one may possibly be bigger than ever.
The annual Tet Parade, which has streamed along Bolsa Avenue on and off for more than 20 years, is set for Saturday, Feb. 17, and will include a pack of police K-9s and their handlers to celebrate the upcoming Year of the Dog.
There will also be a 55-foot-long replica of a South Vietnamese Navy destroyer that sank in 1974 during a battle against Chinese forces, and a giant TV screen so those in the back of the crowd can see the opening ceremonies on the main stage.
The Tet Parade celebrates the Lunar New Year, which begins Feb. 16, one of the biggest days in Little Saigon, the largest concentration of Vietnamese Americans outside Southeast Asia.
The parade typically draws 20,000-plus people to the heart of Little Saigon. This year, more than 6,000 people will march in the parade, including veterans, high school bands and local dignitaries.
As usual, the parade will kick off with lion dancers shaking their manes as firecrackers explode around them.
Parade organizers will once again shine the spotlight on South Vietnamese and American veterans who fought in the Vietnam War.
“They are getting older,” said Phat Bui, a Garden Grove councilman and president of the Vietnamese American Federation of Southern California. “So it is important that we honor them.”
The veterans will all march in one block.
The 55-foot-long replica is of the South Vietnamese destroyer Nhat Tao. In 1974, in a battle over the still-disputed Paracel Islands, the South Vietnamese Navy sank three Chinese destroyers, but the Nhat Tao sank as well, killing 75 people, Bui said.
The float will carry about a dozen former sailors, including a special guest – a former Vietnamese sailor who was on the Nhat Tao when it sunk and who was captured by the Chinese. The Vietnamese American Federation of Southern California is flying him in from Florida.
“It’s a huge honor for us,” Bui said.
The parade will be broadcast on a couple of local Vietnamese-language television stations, and on Facebook Live and YouTube; Bui expects potentially millions to watch the parade online.
To help ring in the Year of the Dog, which symbolizes loyalty and honesty, the police chiefs for Garden Grove and Westminster are trying to get K-9 units from other Orange County police agencies to march in the parade as well.
If you go
When: 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 17
Where: Bolsa Avenue in Westminster, between Magnolia and Bushard streets
Cost: Free
More info:
Source: Oc Register

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