Vendors kept busy under chilly conditions Sunday to get their wares set up for Hmong International New Year at the Fresno Fairgrounds.
The nation’s largest Hmong New Year festival kicks off its weeklong run Monday and is expected to attract thousands of people from all over the United States.
Vendors of Hmong wares and food were hoisting shelters and unpacking trucks and trailers to get their booths ready for the crowds.
The festival will also feature several competitions, including volleyball, flag football and top-spinning. Kato, a game similar to volleyball but using the feet instead of hands, will also be played. A singing competition and traditional dance competition featuring Hmong, Thai and Lao dancing also is set for the event.
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The Miss Hmong International New Year Pageant will crown Miss HINY 2017 after a four-day contest.
The festival comes at the end of a string of celebrations throughout California that began Oct. 8 in Oroville, stretching through November and December in Chico, Stockton, Sacramento, San Diego and Merced. The celebration in Fresno typically brings residents from the Minneapolis area, which has the largest Hmong population in the country.
Fresno and Merced are behind only Sacramento for the highest population of Hmong residents in California.
Hmong International New Year
When: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Dec. 26-Jan. 1
Where: Fresno Fairgrounds
Cost: $4 for general admission; free for children 6 and younger, people 65 and older, guests in wheelchairs, those with military and government ID, and Fresno County employees