The Big Fresno Fair is back to square one with who will host the Hmong New Year Festival at the fairgrounds in December.
Fair officials recently rejected the winning bid from Hmong Cultural New Year Celebration Inc. after receiving a protest from the Hmong International New Year Foundation, the losing bidder and longtime organizer of the massive event.
Lauri King, deputy manager of The Big Fresno, said the fair will issue a new request for proposal for the event in the next two weeks.
In a statement King said: “There was a protest of the bid award and after review of that protest with the California Department of Food and Ag, it was decided to throw out all proposals ...”
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Attorney Daniel Jamison, who represents Hmong International New Year Foundation, said in a letter to The Big Fresno Fair that the organization failed to follow its procedures for accepting competitive bids. He also alleges the fair did not verify if the Hmong Cultural New Year Celebration Inc. has the adequate resources to operate the event. The annual festival attracts more than 100,000 people during its one-week run.
The protest letter also alleges the new group lacks the experience required to organize the New Year festival and “may be a front” for the United Hmong Council, a rival group.
The Hmong Cultural New Year Celebration won the request for proposal to organize the event with a high bid of $250,000.
For the past several years, the United Hmong Council has organized a New Year event at Calwa Park on East Church Avenue, just west of Maple Avenue.