People watch a Tet parade in Westminster in 2003. (Los Angeles Times )
The nation's only Tet parade, staged in the heart of Little Saigon, will go on after all.
After being told that the city of Westminster could not help pay for the annual Lunar Day parade in the nation's largest Vietnamese community, organizers hurriedly raised $60,000 in just two weeks.
"We knew we could not lose this opportunity to promote the beauty of our culture," said Ha Son Tran, vice president of the Vietnamese American Federation of Southern California. "Everyone put in a lot of energy, and there's a lot of pride. Finally, we can show others that we were able to meet the challenge" of fundraising.
Nghia X. Nguyen, president of the federation, appeared at the City Council meeting Wednesday night, presenting two cashier's checks, one for $35,000 and the other for $25,000.
An official from the city's community services and recreation department will oversee the funds, said Councilman Sergio Contreras, who grew up in Westminster and started marching in the parade when he was a high school student.
"I think it's amazing," he said. "Two weeks. I haven't been in a situation where we challenged a group to come up with the money in that short amount of time, and they made it happen. Now the event that we're waiting for will happen."
The parade, scheduled for Feb. 10, is expected to draw thousands and be televised on Vietnamese cable channels here and abroad.
Peter Trinh, a father of two from Huntington Beach, said he plans to attend.
"I heard so much about it and I want my kids to be exposed to our community," he said. "I think it's a good chance for them to see our culture up close, and of course, we'll bring the friends we always go out with. Can't wait."