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Westminster, with its estimated Vietnamese population of 30,000, is widely considered the center of Vietnamese culture in the U.S.
The Tet Festival in Westminster bills itself as the largest Vietnamese Lunar New Year festival in the world. And this year, the annual celebration is expected to be full of good fortune, as the Vietnamese community welcomes the Year of the Snake — believed to be a time of prosperity.
But despite the good omen, the City of Westminster, home to Little Saigon, doesn’t have the $60,000 necessary to put together an important part of the festival — the parade.
The festival is slated for Feb. 8-10, with the parade scheduled for the last day. Local groups such as the Union of Vietnamese Student Associations are now doing their own fundraising.
“We have the layout complete, in terms of getting the application, getting the map, making sure that people know where they’re going," says Nina Tran of the Union of Vietnamese Student Associations.
"But in terms of funding, we do need $60,000. We’ve already had about $10,000 donated to us by local businesses, and other small businesses, and we’ve had a couple of large companies express interest. So we’re just really waiting on those big companies to see where it’s going.”
Tran says her group and others find it important to keep their 30-year parade tradition alive in Westminster, widely considered the center of the Vietnamese community in the U.S. In 2004, the parade faced a smaller budget shortfall, and had to go on a four-year hiatus.