Chilly conditions put freeze on Hmong New Year festivities

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Chilly conditions impacted the Hmong International New Year Monday.

Cloudy skies and a chill filled the air at the Fresno Fairgrounds for day three of the Hmong International New Year."Today is a little bit more gloomy," vendor Nancy Khang said. "And we heard it's going to rain, so we're watching out for that."

Khang bundled up at her booth, had hot soup and even sat by a heater to keep herself warm. The cold weather has also been good for her business. "A lot of the hat warmers and ear muffs," Khang said. "We ran out of gloves so that was the big seller."

The crowd on Monday was bundled up and just a few people walked the Fairgrounds. Organizers say they expected smaller crowds on this work day, but overall turnout has been good.

"The attendance was very good," board secretary Thai Fang said. "In the past few days, we've had 30,000, 40,000 attendance each day."

People come from across the Valley and the country to see old friends and family at the annual celebration. Many will watch the entertainment, but the food is also a major attraction.

New this year, Paul Moua and his family are bringing western food to the Hmong New Year celebration. "Give it a try and make the rice," Moua. "Don't do potatoes, beans or coleslaw, just rice and ribs."

Moua's business is Montana barbecue. He lives in the treasure state, but he says ribs have been a hot seller for all generations in California. "Usually, the public buys it for one dish and one person," Moua said. " But Hmong community, they buy it by the rack."

Making his first run at the new year is already a success. The Hmong International New Year has been celebrated in the states for the past 40 years. The celebration continues every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and wraps up on Saturday.
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