The 2014 Tet Festival's not going to be in Garden Grove this year.
After months of uncertainty, failed negotiations, and accusations of bad faith, the Union of the Vietnamese Students Associations Southern California (UVSA) has found a new home for the festival that's been hosted in Garden Grove for over a decade — the Orange County Fairgrounds.
“In Vietnamese culture, they say that every twelve years (which is a full cycle of the zodiac), something new will occur,” reads a UVSA press release published late Dec. 26 announcing the new location. “The relocation to the OC Fair and Event Center is an exciting opportunity for the festival to grow and become an even more enjoyable event for the general public.”
The festival will be held Feb. 7 – 9. No ticket prices have been released.
UVSA moved the festival this year after failing to come to a compromise with the city of Garden Grove over a new contract to host the Tet Festival longterm. Garden Grove wanted the organization to pay $145,000 annually to cover the costs of the festival, $40,000 more than the city estimates the festival would have cost in 2013 and over $100,000 more than the organization had been paying under its previous two contracts. The fees would have also made the Tet Festival the most expensive festival to host in Garden Grove. The Strawberry Festival, which cost the city $181,000 in 2012, pays $30,000 in fees.
UVSA offered to pay $105,000, the amount the city says the festival costs them, as well as donate $20,000 to local non-profits, but Garden Grove refused.
Original drafts of the city's demands included annual donations of $75,000 to a third-party non-profit organization, whose board of directors includes Garden Grove Mayor Bruce A. Broadwater and Mayor Pro Tem Dina Nguyen, but later drafts of the offer dropped mention of that organization, according to former Nguoi Viet Managing Editor Hao-Nhien Q. Vu.
UVSA's contracted cost with the OC Fair and Event Center is $85,778.50, including facility rental, reimbursable expenses, personnel and security deposit, according to OC Fair Communications Director Robin Wachner.
Other Garden Grove Council Members wanted the festival to stay, but a compromise could not be reached.
“I am happy for UVSA and wish them much success,” Garden Grove Council Member Chris Phan said today. “Even though the event is not in Garden Grove, they have my full support.”