Exploring Lunar New Year at the OC Tet Festival
Arts & Culture / / Mar 14, 2016
Last month my friend AJ and I had the opportunity to check out the Orange County Tet Festival. For those who are unfamiliar, Tet is the celebration of Lunar New Year in Vietnam, and it’s kind of a big deal. Orange County is home to the largest Vietnamese community in the United States, and so an annual festival is hosted right here in the Fountain Valley/Westminster area.
The annual Tet Festival consists of live music, lots of food and vendors, and has a very grassroots, local community vibe to it. It’s basically a big Vietnamese block party!
This year the event was right across the street from where I live, at Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley. Because it’s a community driven event, there is free admission and lots of representation from local shops and restaurants. Even the performers were sourced from local talent in the Vietnamese community.
A huge chunk of Vietnamese immigrants in Southern California came to the States in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, fleeing from the communists in North Vietnam who would eventually take over the entire country. As a result, the yellow and red flag of South Vietnam became a ubiquitous symbol for the Vietnamese American community and is flung high during all community events.
One of the best parts about going to any festival is the food (duh)! OC Tet Festival is no exception. There were about 3-4 dozen food tents set up, armed with fresh pho, meat skewers, fried rice, and lots of boba milk tea. Vietnamese food in Orange County is also notoriously affordable, so I managed to feed myself and my buddy AJ with less than 20 bucks!
Probably the most unexpectedly cool part about the festival for me was that there was a booth set up with Super Smash Brothers for the Wii U! They were charing $1 per game, and if you won you got a small prize. Naturally, I had to give it a shot.
Overall, this year’s Tet Festival was a very laid back and chill experience. The one critique I have is that parking was pretty difficult for most people, since attendance at this event was just about at capacity. I literally live right across the street, however, so it was a non-issue for me! LOL
The festival happens every year around February, so if you’re in the area make sure to check it out!