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Fresno Hmong New Year Celebration Returns. What You Need to Know.



Photo of McLane High students having fun at the opening parade at the Hmong Cultural New Year Celebration in Fresno
Kathy Vang, Suleka Cha, and Der Vue at the 2017 Hmong New Year celebration at the Fresno Fairground. (AP File)
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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.

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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