Hmong New Year unveils Gen. Vang Pao statue

The Hmong New Year event at The Big Fresno Fair today unveiled a new memorial to General Vang Pao, an important Hmong community leader who died nearly a year ago.

Hmong International New Year, Inc. unveiled the memorial this morning at the fairgrounds pavilion area during the event, which started Dec. 26 and runs through Jan. 1. The statue depicts General Vang Pao overlooking his Laotian military base, Long Cheng.

Organizers of the event estimate about 100,000 people will attend this year.

It is the second year a competing Hmong New Year event is taking place in Fresno at the same time. United Hmong Council, Inc., which splintered from the other event's organizing group in 2010, is hosting its Hmong New Year celebration through Jan. 1 at the Regional Sports Complex. "More than tens of thousands of people" are expected to attend, according to organizers. 

The groups are currently wrapped up in a lawsuit over the matter.