Thousands expected to visit Fresno Fairgrounds to celebrate Hmong New Year

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The New Year is a time when Hmong begin a new chapter of life following the harvest season.

Many will come from miles away just to soak in the atmosphere and celebrate family and friends.

From music to food to dancing and traditional dress, thousands are celebrating the Hmong New Year at the Fresno Fairgrounds.

People from all over the world come here each year to take part of the festivities and give thanks.

"It's kind of like Thanksgiving in America. And we have the festival for all the young ones to gather around and know one another because after a long year of harvesting you need your fun too," said organizer Vicky Xiong-Loi.

And there's plenty to do here.

Stan Vang has been a part of the festival for the better part of a decade.

Every year his family makes the trek from southern California to honor the Hmong New Year surrounded by friends and family at one of the largest events of its kind in the country.

"I really enjoy it because it feels like home because in Southern Cali we don't really have a lot of Hmong people so when I come here it's like home. I enjoy the culture, I enjoy the clothes, it just feels nice," said Stan Vang from Los Angeles.

Like any sort of festival or fair -- food is a major attraction here.

And that includes some delicious cuisine mash-ups -- we found one man who has combined nine ingredients to form a pho burrito

"Fried noodle, cilantro, basil, onion, jalapeno, etc. and my special blend of meat - I cannot tell you my secret," said vendor Vue Lee.

But what we can tell you is -- there's plenty to do and see here.

Many young people will spend time tossing a ball back and forth as a form of courtship that dates back decades.

Others didn't mind showing off their vocal cords for our camera.

Organizers are expecting over 100,000 people to attend over the seven day event

"You'll find fresh fruit vendor booths. We have churros and Mexican food as well as Hmong sausage, we have Vietnamese, Thai It's kind of like a mini fair for us," said Vicky Xiong-Loi.

The Hmong New Year festival runs everyday until 4pm here at the Fresno Fairgrounds and wraps up Tuesday.
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