Fresno Hmong New Year Celebration Returns. What You Need to Know.
After a year’s hiatus because of the pandemic, the Hmong New Year celebration returns to the Fresno Fairground for a four-day run starting Thursday.
When the first Hmong refugees arrived in Fresno from Laos and Thailand in the mid-1970s, their desire to seek out other Hmong individuals was strong. As they settled into new homes, they sought to preserve their culture and traditions, including the New Year’s observance.
“We are the largest Hmong New Year that happens in the United States. So, this one’s definitely been anticipated,” Mai Kerr Thao, board treasurer of the Hmong Cultural New Year Celebration, told Valley Public Radio’s Soreath Hok.
Miss Hmong USA Pageant
Because of COVID-19, there will be fewer booths and more space created to accommodate social distancing, organizers said. Visitors and vendors must wear masks.
Vendors began trickling into the fairground to set up their booths on Tuesday. The event will include dance competitions and the Miss Hmong USA pageant.
“The Hmong community plays a vital role in our community, and we are all looking forward to this amazing event,” said Fresno City Council President Luis Chavez, whose southeast district includes the fairground.
Watch: Fresno Hmong New Year 2022
COVID-19 Vaccinations Available
In pre-pandemic times, a week-long Hmong New Year event attracted as many as 100,000 people from all over the United States. This year, it has been shortened to four days on the advice of the Fresno County Department of Public Health.
Visitors desiring a COVID vaccination can get one at the event. The shots are provided through a partnership between The Fresno Center and Kaiser Permanente.
Admission is $10, with $5 off for seniors and military. There is no charge for children 5-and-under. Parking is $10.
Gates open at 9 a.m. Thursday. The event concludes on Sunday.