By Phillip Ho/Orange County Tribune
More than 700 families gather around Main Street in downtown Garden Grove on Sunday to celebrate the traditional Vietnamese Mooncake Festival event, the first ever in that location.
Around 3 p.m., the sign-in line was starting to form and, by 4 p.m., it stretched all the way around the block of Acacia Parkway. There was a staging area with a backdrop and some chairs and a basic sound system for entertainment. Volunteers and organizers set up tables and chairs, ready to serve the community.
Around 4:30, as participants continued to sign-in, the event lights up with performances from local volunteer groups Hoa Hau Tu Thien and 3 a.m. Working in tandem with each other, the two groups performed a total of five dance performances, alternating each other after each song.
Following the performances, MC Oscar Nguyen gathered the children around for activities. Dozens of children came to the staging area to participate in tug-of-war, potato sack race, and Oscar’s notorious bingo game show. Although a children-friendly event, competitiveness was in the air as these activities all had cash prizes.
As the sun set, people tightly packed around the staging area for the much-anticipated Chu Cuoi and Chi Hang costume contest. The contest had 35 children, both boys and girls under the age of 15, dressed up with traditional mooncake-style outfits.
As the children displayed their unique outfits in front of hundreds of people, the judges were grading them on confidence, outfit decoration, and overall appearances. The event had many local dignitaries, as Councilmember Cindy Tran, City Manager Lisa Kim, and Garden Grove’s Downtown Business Association President Jennifer Stewart, were judges for the costume contest. Councilmember Joe DoVinh was also present and when asked about the event, DoVinh said “We had a good time; give our best regards to the organizers and sponsors.’
Following the costume contest, the loud sound from banging of the drums started as it was time for the traditional lion dance. The three lion performers captivated the crowd with their flashy ornaments and movements. While the lion dance was stealing the show, organizers and volunteers prepared lanterns to give out to the participants. After the lion dance, Main Street was filled with energetic children playing around with their lanterns and with parents smiling and taking pictures of their children.
Overall, the event was a success, according to Ny’s Beauty and Phuc Long Coffee & Tea, organizers of the event. Although only 200-300 families were expected, they were prepared and tried their best to serve everyone in attendance. Although overwhelmed at times, the organizers said they appreciated the help from volunteers from La Quinta High School’s Key Club.
With such a good turn out, the Ny’s Beauty and Phuc Long Coffee & Tea sent their appreciation to the people that showed up and the City of Garden Grove.
Categories: Garden Grove