6th Annual Hmong Wausau Festival is back for the weekend

6th Annual Hmong Wausau Festival is back for the weekend
Published: Jul. 29, 2023 at 10:45 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The 9th Annual Hmong Wausau Festival was held at the Marathon County Sports Complex on Saturday. From sports tournaments, and music, to food and merchandise vendors, there’s no shortage of attractions to enjoy at the festival.

“In 2017 here, we had 7,000 people that attended,” said Yee Leng Xiong, the chair of the Hmong Wausau Festival. “Even though we were only thinking that there were going to be 4,000 people. In 2021 and 2022, we had over 13,000 people that attended.”

Not only have they grown in attendance, but also in the number of people who want to be a part of the celebration.

“When we first started this event here, we had less than ten total vendors in the food realm,” said Xiong. “We had less than 20 merchandise vendors. But this year, we are completely full and we actually have people on the waiting list.”

While the event is jam-packed with vendors helping to enhance people’s experience, it’s the volunteers that are the backbone of the festival.

“This event would never be possible if it wasn’t for our incredible volunteers,” said Xiong. “We’re so fortunate to have over 30-some individuals that are so dedicated to coordinating this event. But then we are so fortunate to have well over 300 volunteers participate in this event and making it a possibility.”

Regardless of the workload, the excitement from visitors is worth it all.

“Every year, I always tell myself that I dread putting this event together,” said Xiong. “But every time it does happen, it reminds me of why we did this event in the first place. It’s because of the cheers, it’s because of the smiles, it’s because we’re able to bring people and the community together.”

Sunday will be the last day of the two-day event. In case you missed out, there are still opportunities to learn more about the Hmong culture in Wausau. Xiong encourages people to visit the Hmong American Center or to call them about education options. To learn more, click here.