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Morning rain dampens the turnout — but not the joy — for Tet Parade in Westminster’s Little Saigon

Rain put a damper on the expected crowd, and festivities got underway almost two hours late.

But as a good omen for the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, the sun broke though mid-morning Saturday, Feb. 9, bequeathing plenty of time for the 20th annual Tet Parade in Little Saigon.

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Thousand of celebrants – many of them showing up after the rain took leave – lined Bolsa Avenue in Westminster to cheer on fantastical creatures, martial arts performers, mariachi bands and dancers garbed in colorful Vietnamese costumes.

Organizers initially estimated that some  30,000 folks would watch from the sidewalks, As it turned out, only about 10,000 materialized.

“We lost about 70 percent of the crowd due to rain,” said parade committee spokesman Alan Ford, who came to the United States as a child after the Fall of Saigon in 1975. “But the event went well and was very fun.”

As always, the parade started with a bang as huge fire-breathing dragons greeted admirers. Actually, the smoke came from firecrackers and the mythological beasts were powered by people who doubled up inside elaborate costumes.

This is the Year of the Pig, so pig-theme characters and decorations abounded.

The parade coincided with the three-day Tet Festival, which runs through Sunday, Feb. 10, at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa.

Sponsors and donors funded the $150,000 parade, of which about $65,000 went to the city for supplying police officers and other public safety personnel.

Vietnamese-Americans make up 40 percent of Westminster’s population. The Tet Parade, Mayor Tri Ta said, “is a way for the first generation to pass traditions to future generations.”


Source: Orange County Register

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