The battle over who will host the annual Hmong New Year in Fresno has evolved into two rival events going on at the same time.
In May, the Hmong Cultural New Year Celebration won the bid to host the Hmong New Year celebration at Fresno Fairground. The group is a newcomer and outbid the Hmong International New Year Foundation for the right to organize the event that is expected to draw more than 120,000 people.
The event is considered one of the largest of its kind, drawing Hmong families from throughout the United States. So when the Hmong International group lost out, organizers vowed to find another location. And they did.
The group announced recently that it will host its own Hmong New Year event at Granite Park, 4000 Cedar Ave., from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1. That is the same time as the Hmong New Year being held at the fairground.
Sid Ly, one of the organizers of the fairground’s event, said he isn’t sure how the second celebration will affect the one he is helping to put together.
“They are at smaller space so we will have to see how they do,” Ly said. “Regardless, we will have a very successful event.”
Officials with the Hmong International New Year Foundation could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Others in the Hmong community, however, say they wished the groups would come together and work on finding a permanent home for a new year celebration.
“We were sad to see the division among the Hmong leaders as they competed to bid for the Hmong New Year contract,” wrote Dr. Ghia Xiong and Nu Vang in a Valley Voices column in The Bee. “It became more of a business for revenue for one person than a mission for uniting the Hmong and finding them a home to conduct such cultural event.”