The 2019 Hmong American New Year At The State Fairgrounds
By Amy Doeun
On November 10-11, the Lee and Rose Warner Coliseum at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds will transform into a bastion of Hmong culture for the Hmong American New Year.
Hmong Times spoke with Mr. Ka Houa Yang, chairman for the event. He described what visitors to the New Year could look forward to, “We have a cultural show and other competitions, dance and singing, the Miss Hmong pageant, the Prince Charming competition, speakers… there are many activities to look forward to – shows and competitions. You can participate in cultural events like the ball tossing. There will be merchandise booths selling items that can help enhance the cultural experience like videos, costumes and clothing.”
Speakers will include Minnesota State Senator Foung Hawj, St. Paul City Council member Dai Thao and Chairman Yang to address the leaders and welcome everyone.
The food options will also enhance the experience. Yang says, “We have chicken wings and sausage, cooked in the Hmong way. You may see some things you’ve seen before, and may also see things you have never seen before.”
One highlight of the New Year is the Miss Hmong and Prince Charming pageants. This year there are 8 participants. They have been practicing for months to prepare for the big day.
This is the 20th anniversary of the Hmong American New Year. Yang said, “From the beginning of the year, until April or May we recruit new board members. Once the board is complete we start planning the New Year.”
Yang said the goal of the event is, “We would like to maintain our culture has long as we live in this country. And we would also like to share our culture with other people.”
They hope to continue to expand the event. “We would like to bring more people in.” Currently they do charge an admission fee. “We would like to reduce the admission fee. That is what we had in our county. But given our time and the resources we need for security we haven’t been able to do that yet… there is a cost involved.”
To the public Yang said, “We invite the public to come enjoy themselves – to meet other people. People come from other states like California and Wisconsin. It is like a reunion from other states.”
To those that are not Hmong he said, “We invite you to come see our culture. I will be there to welcome everyone. Happy New Year!”