By Avery Ballmann | Staff Writer
With red paper lanterns, twinkle lights and rabbits, the Vietnamese Student Association will transform the Waco Convention Center into their 30th annual Autumn Moon Festival from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.
Plano junior and VSA president Madelene Do said the festival is open to all Baylor students.
“We want to expand on that and share that cultural knowledge, and the fact that there’s a cultural festival going on and that it’s welcome for everyone,” Do said.
The Autumn Moon Festival is typically held in Barfield Drawing Room, but because of scheduling conflicts, VSA was not able to secure the space. Since there were no other spaces big enough on campus, they opted for the Waco Convention Center.
“We wanted to devise a solution where we can have the same amount of people come out, but also have it be close proximity to Baylor,” Do said. “So we could still get that best of both worlds that we would get in Barfield.”
Because of the upgrade in venue and caterers, VSA is charging an admission fee. To receive the early-bird ticket price, students should fill out this attendance form from VSA, which will prompt the user to Venmo. If students purchase a ticket before 11:59 p.m. Friday, they will only have to pay $5. If they miss the deadline, they can pay $8 at the door.
At the festival, there will be eight dance performances from different groups across campus, traditional Vietnamese food, a fashion show and a photo booth.
Modesto, Calif., junior Tiffany Le is the internal vice president of VSA and head of the fashion show and decoration committee for the festival. She said the fashion show is one of the smaller parts of the festival but it showcases their culture.
Members of VSA will walk down the runway in a Vietnamese traditional dress, the áo dài. This dress can be worn for many different occasions, some members have their own áo dài’ and others will wear ones that were donated by a member’s aunt.
“It’s to showcase more of our traditional wear and dress, and more of our culture in another way, as opposed to food and dance,” Houston sophomore Katrina Nguyen, a member of the fashion show and committee, said.
Le’s Kitchen and Cha Community will be catering the festival. They will be serving fried rice, dumplings and bubble tea. Outside of the caterers, VSA will also be serving mooncakes.
Mooncakes are a sweet or savory staple dessert to this festival, filled with a bean paste and stamped with symbols and a moon this treat will be passed out to guests at the event.
Do said VSA usually reaches out to groups in the Coalition of Asian Students, but they decided to branch out to other groups such as the Urban Dance Society to participate in their festival.
Houston senior Mahnoosh Heshmat, a dancer in the Urban Dance Society, said their group has been working on a hip-hop routine for the past four weeks.
“I’ve never performed at VSA before, but I know that it’s a big event,” Heshmat said. “I know so many people are attending, so I’m just super excited to be on stage and perform.”
VSA’s own dance team will also be performing a three-part routine at the festival.
Garland senior Jacob Liwanag will also take his place again on the stage as one of VSA’s emcee’s for the event. Liwanag’s task is to welcome the guests and introduce the different performing groups.
“It’s nerve wracking when you get up there, but it’s really exciting,” Liwanag said. “Because once you get there, you get the adrenaline, you get the crowd roaring.”
Nguyen said the Autumn Moon Festival is a celebration of their culture to share with others, because she finds herself in her own bubble within VSA.
“I think it’s important to be able to recognize that you’re not just within your own people,” Nguyen said. “There’s so many other diversified groups on campus, and this event is to help those who are connected with us, even if you’re not Vietnamese or Asian.”