Fresno's Hmong Cultural New Year kicks off at fairgrounds
One of the country's biggest cultural celebrations is back in person at the Fresno Fairgrounds. The first day of Fresno's Hmong Cultural New Year kicked off Thursday morning, with hundreds of vendor booths are spread across the fairgrounds. The event was canceled last year due to the pandemic and shortened from seven to four days this year. However, vendors and attendees said they are excited to be back in person because there's so much to look forward to during the celebration. "The food, the clothes," shared Mai Thao, who comes to the celebration every year from Merced. "Meeting friends, old friends, getting to meet new friends," said May Lee. "Just learning and seeing the beautiful culture of what the Hmong culture is about." People of all ages can be seen celebrating and sharing Hmong culture and dressed in traditional or modern clothing. Many attendees say the celebration is where they can see what's trending in Hmong fashion. "My outfit is super different," said Thao. She added that she always enjoys bringing her son to the annual event for many reasons. "To know where he came from, culturewise, foodwise and everything," Thao said. In addition to the food, music and fun, visitors can also receive a COVID vaccine. The first 1,000 people get a free $50 gift card. According to organizers, this is one way they can keep the community safe while still celebrating Hmong New Year with the Central Valley and beyond. The celebration lasts through January 2.