Vietnamese New Year marks history
February 10, 2012
Little Saigon hosts parade and festival
A parade and festival to celebrate Vietnamese New Year was held Feb. 4-5. Traditional ethnic dancers, drummers, car exhibitions and other Vietnamese organizations and businesses celebrated the year of the dragon down Stockton Boulevard.
The parade started at the corner of Fruitridge Road and Stockton Boulevard at 9:30 a.m. and continued down to a large, previously empty parking lot at Lindale Drive and Stockton Boulevard, which hosted the festival at 11:30 a.m.
“I think it was a very successful parade,” said Vy Nguyen, City College communications major. “Once in a while you get to be in the middle of the street. It was a very fun experience.”
Complete with rides, food stands, martial arts demonstrations, community outreach programs, and other celebratory action; the Sacramento Vietnamese community gathered together for their and Sacramento’s history.
“Seeing that our culture, and our tradition and our people come to celebrate means a lot to me personally,” said Dat Tran, an undeclared City College student who attended the event.
During the traditional prayer hundreds gathered and Tran was on stage holding a flag with his fellow Boy Scouts to salute those who lost their lives trying to escape communism in Vietnam.
“Chúc mừng năm mới!” said the crowd of Vietnamese people who attended the ceremony. This saying in Vietnamese means “Happy New Year.”
Muddled attempts of the Vietnamese celebratory expression were exclaimed with great enthusiasm on the festival’s center stage by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, California Senator Darrell Steinberg, and Sacramento city councilman Kevin McCarty, who were all in attendance for Saturday’s ceremony.
The appearance of these political figures was due to the unveiling of the signs reading, “Little Saigon, Next Exit,” that have been recently posted on both the north and south exits for the Fruitridge Road exit on Highway 99. A trailblazer sign that reads “Welcome to Little Saigon” follows the exit to guide drivers toward the Vietnamese businesses and community that reside on Stockton Boulevard in south Sacramento.
“[These signs are] a good recognition of [the] contributions of the Vietnamese people of Sacramento,” said Dinh Bui, City College counselor and instructor. “A recognition of their achievement and hard work.”
Bui has been serving on the Vietnamese American Community of Sacramento organization that initially petitioned for the sign. Along with Bui’s Vietnamese American Community of Sacramento, the Greater Sacramento Vietnamese American Chamber of Commerce and the Stockton Boulevard Partnership were the organizations that planned the weekend festivities.
Together, these organizations presented the idea to a City Council meeting on Feb. 2, of putting signs to officially designate the Vietnamese businesses on Stockton Boulevard that extend through Fruitridge Road and Florin Road as Little Saigon.
“When people drive on the highway, they can see there is a Vietnamese community in Sacramento, [and] I feel proud of it,” Tran said.