VACA was established in July 2021 with first 4 members: Dr. Pham Hieu Liem, Mr. Nguyen Van Diem, Mr. Nguyen Tuong Tuan, and Ms. Nguyen Truong Minh Anh.
Our first activity was organizing Tet Trung Thu with the Vietnamese Community of Tampa Bay organization.
This also was the first time that we reached out and invited the local governments to attend and received the support from them: Hillsborough County parks provide us the amphitheater at Carrollwood Village Park for our event.
The CPC also supported and gave us 15 Gaither HS students to volunteer for setting up tents, cleaning, parking guides…
We distributed 350 lanterns and taught children to make lanterns from recycled bottles of water. Teachers of Vietnamese Classes at Phat Phap Temple in St Petersburg – Mrs. Huong and Thanh Nha volunteered to teach the children. Nha Viet Nam also sent Mrs. Trang and her daughter and son also helped at the workshop.
St Joseph’s Vietnamese church’s members, Mr. Thi Nguyen and Tu Nguyen volunteered at the Registration booth.
The Vietnamese American students at USF performed a wonderful lion dance.
Mr. Thanh and Hao Nguyen decorated a unique and artistic photo area with bamboo plants and electric lighted lanterns.
Mr. Hinh Truong did a marvelous job with the sound systems. His dear wife, vocalist Thu Hoai with exceptional voice and vocalist Huy Phung led the crowd with both Vietnamese and American songs.
Mrs. Hong Nhung played traditional Vietnamese music instruments (dan tranh& dan bau) and sang folk music. The children happily danced and laughed with her tunes.
A few young artists, who played piano and saxophone like Eva, Annie, Ngo… from Jacksonville and St Pete showed off their talents.
The group led by beautiful MC Truc-Ha and young mothers and children performed an unforgettable fashion show.
The Senior Vietnamese members of Khi Cong Hoang Hac (Golden Crane Qi Gong) smoothly demonstrated the elegant and sophisticated movements which imitated from the crane taught by the Master and Founder: Dr. Pham Gia Con.
Owner of Le Hoang farm donated a few boxes of vegetables.
Cafe Thuy from St Pete attracted a lot of customers because of their delicious and authentic Vietnamese foods. The line of buyers was long, but everyone was happy to wait trying Cafe Thuy’s meals.
The City of Tampa and Hillsborough County sent Representatives to attend.
It was a fun and great successful event regardless of the pandemic, we still had at least seven hundred people attending.
It’s not the crowd that made this event special and unforgettable: It’s the joy shown on the innocent faces of the children and our Tet Trung Thu – or Children Festival of the Vietnamese Americans was recognized by Hillsborough County and Commissioner Ken Hagan.
From now on, every year in September, Carrollwood Village Park would reserve the amphitheater for this event. Gaither High School would send volunteers to help us.
VACA’s first effort to reach out, to share our culture, to seek out support from the local governments, to tie our family bond, and to build a strong Vietnamese American community had been succeeded. It’s only the beginning of our missions.
May you all enjoy looking at the photos and videos of the event.
Minh Anh Truong Nguyen