WESTMINSTER, California (NV) – After realizing a profit of more than $190,000 from their efforts organizing their annual Tet Festival, leaders of the Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of Southern California (UVSA) took time Sunday to thank the volunteers, staff members, sponsors, supporters and community leaders who contributed to January’s festival at an appreciation luncheon.
“Students, backbone of our organization, thank you. To our community, sponsors, supporters: because of you through all the years, even before I was born, before a lot of us were born, your efforts and dedication have raised Tet to where it is now,” said Theodore Pascual, president of the UVSA.
Arlene Ho, a student at the University of California, Irvine, and chairwoman of the 36th Annual UVSA Tet Festival — called “Spring of Harmony,” echoed a similar heartfelt thank you.
“On behalf of all the volunteers and staffs, thank you — the community organizers, sponsors, supporters, everyone — for helping and supporting us over many years,” she said. “I want to thank everyone who has been supporting us this year and so many years in the past, and especially the volunteers who (spent) lots of time to organize the Tet festival 2017, and the staffs for spending so much time and effort to put on the festival this year.”
Ho oversaw more than 275 staff members, 1,000 volunteers from both the community and UVSA organization, and 16 subcommittees this year at the festival, held at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa.
Believed to be the largest Tet festival in the world organized by students and community members instead of professionals, the UVSA festival this year drew at least 50,000 attendee, organizers said. Billy Le, the chairman of the Tet festival last year and an adviser for the group this year, said the 40,000 tickets the group printed weren’t enough.
“They were all sold out, so we had to get tickets from last year to sell,” Le said.
The festival brought in $500,000 in gross receipts and the profit of more than $190,000, after expenses, was double last year’s net, organizers said.
Tommy Nguyen, the treasurer of UVSA, said the profits will enable the organization to increase the funding it returns to the community this year. Still, while applauding that 12 of 16 committees went under budget this year, Nguyen cautioned that UVSA must preserve and “safeguard” its finance in the future. Considering the history of the organization, which had to move from its longtime at Garden Grove Park because of an increase in rent, the decision seemed well-received.
Next year, the UVSA Tet Festival will be held Feb. 16-18 at the OC Fair & Event Center.