42nd Annual Hmong Freedom Festival – June 29 and 30, 2024






The United Hmong Family, Inc. (UHF); a Minnesota tax exempt nonprofit organization is proud to present the 42nd Annual Hmong Freedom Festival and its accompanying sports tournaments. This event helps to bring athletes, business owners and spectators together in a celebration of community and togetherness. In addition to stage programs that share both the Hmong community’s rich culture and language, the festival also offers amateur sport competitions in soccer, Hmong cultural topspin, Hmong cultural kato (foot volley), cornhole, volleyball and flag football.

The UHF is proud that its representatives, community volunteers and board of directors has worked hard all year long to organize this event which culminates on June 29 and 30, 2024 at the McMurray Fields in Saint Paul. The organization exists to preserve cultural identity through intergenerational collaboration, involvement of the Hmong clan structure and youth leadership in support of this mission. UHF, Inc. hosts two annual events: the July 4th Freedom Festival and the Minnesota Hmong New Year.

The UHF has communicated previously and will share again our commitment to community and to inclusiveness in all aspects of its Freedom Festival. Recently, we received input on social media from some members of the local soccer community questioning UHF’s commitment to women’s sports and suggesting the UHF operations of the women’s soccer competition is inequitable. The Women’s Soccer tournament is one important aspect of the Freedom Festival and joins with all the other parts of the Festival that make up this wide-ranging community building event.

The Board of Directors does not actively promote one sport over the other but promotes the event overall in the spirit of both competitiveness and community building.

The sports tournaments have an entry fee and small money prizes have traditionally been awarded to winners. The Board of Directors determined these fees and prize amounts after careful review of the entire event’s budget well in advance of each year’s Festival based on the data and trends from previous events, expected revenues, and other factors.

Some recent comments included the modification of the competition entry fee structure and to award greater monetary prizes. The UHF has and will continue to consider and discuss these issues in looking at sustaining this event. The UHF is charged with the overall management of the UHF and in turn the entire Festival. The Board always gathers outside input in addition to the financial information and the amount of funds available. The festival continues to evolve to make it inclusive and in accordance with the purpose of the Festival.

We received a grant from the state of Minnesota in 2023 in the amount of $1.2 million. That grant will provide general operating funds to the UHF for the entire Freedom Festival in the next two years.  The grant is not to pay prize money but to help fund and advance the larger event overall. The Board has a duty to use grant funds such as this only in accordance  with the terms of the grant.  It has done this and will continue to do so.  Consequently, an increase in overall operating funds, does not directly equate to higher prize amounts or a reduction of fees.

The grant will continue to be used only in accordance with the grant terms and in the best interests of the UHF and the community.  The UHF wants to assure the community and all others that its Board of Directors is continually interested in hearing community input about all aspects of the Freedom Festival. Over the many years we have presented this event the Board has overseen continual growth, evolution and challenges and will continue to do so based on our mission, everyone’s input, practical necessity, and overall economics.

The UHF wants to take this opportunity to thank the Minnesota Legislature and the people of Minnesota for providing this grant and wants to assure them that the grant funds are being well and properly spent for the grants purpose and the overall purposes of the UHF. Future grants and funding are also much appreciated and will be managed and expanded in the same manner.

We also appreciate the support of all the participants who attend this event each year, including and not limited to sponsors, vendors, our staff or spectators. Your engagement in this event over the years has made what started as a Hmong reunion after leaving war-torn Laos to become a vibrant part of Minnesota’s tapestry. We continue to be proud that the more than 30,000 spectators who attend each year have also played an impactful role in supporting local businesses outside of our event. We look forward to another great event this year and the opportunity to share the Hmong culture and our heritage with all the patrons.

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