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Orange County Celebrates Tet and Lunar New Year

PHOTO STORY: Drew A. Kelley captures the festivities at the 42nd annual UVSA Tết Festival at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa on Saturday, Feb. 10.


Lion dancers perform during the 42nd annual UVSA Tết Festival at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024. Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Culture OC
 

Tens of thousands of Orange County residents – and many who live beyond OC – gathered to celebrate the Lunar New Year at multiple OC locations this past weekend. 2024 is the Year of the Dragon – the nurturing wood dragon, for those who follow the Chinese zodiac closely.


The festivities started Friday at the OC Fair and Event Center with the 42nd annual UVSA Tet Festival. Attendees dressed in ao dai, the traditional and colorful Vietnamese garment often made of silk chiffon fabrics, and enjoyed lion and dragon dances, pho eating contests, Asian food sold by vendors, various cultural and organizational booths, and a traditional Vietnamese village.


On Saturday, the actual Lunar New Year, thousands of people participated in the Westminster Tet Parade, marching in bands, walking with local organizations, riding in floats or cars, or just watching along Bolsa Avenue. Presented by the city of Westminster, the parade was also broadcast online and on international channels to approximately 250,000 viewers globally.


Other Lunar New Year or Tet festivities took place at Miles Square Park in Fountain Valley, the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall (presented by Pacific Symphony), SteelCraft Garden Grove and Disney California Adventure Park, among others.


Overall, with the sun popping out and the rain a thing of the past, it was a successful Lunar New Year weekend, with no reports of any major incidents or accidents. Kung hei fat choi, Chuc mung nam moi and Gong xi fa cai, Orange County! – Richard Chang


A Vietnam veteran observes the national anthem during the 42nd annual UVSA Tết Festival at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024. Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Culture OC

Five-year-old Aria Brons smiles as she rides a rollercoaster during the 42nd annual UVSA Tết Festival at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa on Saturday, Feb. 10. Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Culture OC

Musicians perform during a procession at the 42nd annual UVSA Tết Festival at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa on Saturday, Feb. 10. Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Culture OC

Singers at the 42nd annual UVSA Tết Festival at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa on Saturday, Feb. 10. Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Culture OC

Boy Scout troop 980 carries the American flag during a procession at the 42nd annual UVSA Tết Festival at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa on Saturday, Feb.10. Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Culture OC

Miss Vietnam of Southern California, Viviana Nguyen, was crowned during the 42nd annual UVSA Tết Festival at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa on Saturday, Feb. 10. Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Culture OC

Grilled lobster was served during the 42nd annual UVSA Tết Festival at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa on Saturday, Feb. 10. Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Culture OC

Four-year-old Caden Lollar walks across a monkey bridge during the 42nd annual UVSA Tết Festival at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa on Saturday, Feb. 10. Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Culture OC

An ancestral procession walks across the OC Fair and Event Center during the 42nd annual UVSA Tết Festival on Saturday, Feb. 10. Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Culture OC

Lion Dancers perform during the 42nd annual UVSA Tết Festival at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa on Saturday, Feb. 10. Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Culture OC

Grilled oysters were served at the 42nd annual UVSA Tết Festival at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa on Saturday, Feb. 10. Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Culture OC

Wishes posted at the 42nd annual UVSA Tết Festival at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa on Saturday, Feb.10. Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Culture OC

A woman participating in the ancestral procession during the 42nd annual UVSA Tết Festival at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa on Saturday, Feb. 10. Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Culture OC

A milk tea drinking competition was one of the activities during the 42nd annual UVSA Tết Festival at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa on Saturday, Feb. 10. Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Culture OC

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