The event, which was held in Tao Dan Park in District 1, attracted over 700,000 visitors, 20% more than last year, said Tran The Ky, head of the festival’s organizing board. The two-week-long event, which began on February 3, concluded on February 14 with 332 artisans awarded prizes, including two special honors and 41 gold ones. The winners of the special awards were Trinh Van Si, an orchid artist from Bao Loc, a city in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, and Pham Tan Tai, an apricot artist hailing from an ornamental flower club in An Giang, a province in southern Vietnam. The flower festival, themed ‘Ho Chi Minh City – Peace – Prosperity – Development,’ not only featured splendid and grand pieces of art, including exotic flowers, bonsai and rock sculptures, but also showcased some 3,000 floral exhibits from 20 southern provinces. With 2015 marking the 20th year Vietnam has been an official member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), there was a section at the festival dedicated to the display of photos from the other members of the ten-nation bloc. The Lunar New Year celebration, which is deeply rooted in Vietnamese culture, fell on February 8 and included plenty of ceremonial preparations as well as festive exhibitions, customarily beginning one week before and continuing one week after.