After a two-year Hiatus, The Hmong 42nd Annual New Year festival is back. I sat down to interview The President of The United Hmong Family “Mee Vang” and “Kyarii Ly” who serve on the Board of Trustees to talk about the festival. 

This annual festival is a cultural tradition where the Hmong communities exist as they come together to dress in traditional clothing and enjoy traditional foods, music, dance, and other forms of entertainment. The festival is also a gathering place to educate people interested in the Hmong tradition. 

The Hmong New Year celebration was created to give thanks to ancestors and spirits as well as to welcome new beginnings. Many Hmong early settlers came to the US in the late 70s and displayed leadership. 

They continued this tradition by hosting a New Year’s celebration and worked really well with officials and  Mayors from both Minneapolis and Saint Paul at that time and received facilities free of charge. With things opening back up, Mee Vang and Kyarri Ly are excited to host this two-day event so that the Hmong people are able to continue these great customs. Over the last forty-plus years, the tradition has transcended into one of the biggest economic booms in the Twin Cities and all around the nation.

When asked what entertainment and vendors will be at the festival this year, Kyarri Ly stated “We have singing, dancing, and pageant competitions, and we have two international stars coming to perform. As far as vendors, we have real estate businesses, medical businesses, indian jewelry businesses, and community services. We also sold out our food booths this year, so we will have plenty of food.”

I asked Mee Vang. What separates this festival from others? “Definitely the Hmong culture, but mainly the types of venues that we offer. Our venue offers a whole slate of programs and we have so many activities including the Hmong ball tossing as a way of communication and mingling with other folks.” The festival is open to not just Hmong people, but anyone who would love to attend this phenomenal event.

Spectators can come out and be in awe as they view the vibrant traditional clothing from Hmong citizens who have worked tirelessly in designing the most elaborate clothing including headwear and jewelry to display their unique identity. 

When asked why people should attend this festival Kyarri Ly stated “Because it has so much to offer for everyone, and we want people to engage with our culture. We want to interact with everyone. It’s a very big tradition for us and we want to build on it. It’s a time for us to all come together and embrace each other’s culture.” Mee Vang says “We have a duty to our residents here. We know this community really needs it. 

The strength of having 40,000 people attend our summer festival brought a lot of hope back into the businesses. So the people should come out to support those mom-and-pop businesses as well. You can enjoy your Thanksgiving and Black Friday and then come and celebrate with us the next day and enjoy festivities with the whole community.”

 Tickets are available at the Xcel Energy Center Box Office Monday – Friday from noon – 5 pm starting on Thursday, November 3. Tickets will also be available at the door on the event days.

Lacey Turner

The Newsletter 05

Senior Editor, Digital Manager, Blogger, has been nominated for awards several times as Publisher and Author over the years. Has been with company for almost three years and is a current native St. Louisan.