Seattle Center Festál: Hmong New Year Celebration preserves the ancient Southeast Asian highland cultures of China, Laos and Thailand, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7, in Seattle Center Armory. This harvest celebration showcases Hmong musicians and artists in ways that illuminate this distinct culture.
The theme for this year’s festival is “40 Years in America,” marking the 40th anniversary of the arrival of the Hmong people in the United States. A video presentation entitled “40 Voices: We are Hmong” plays throughout the day and features 40 Hmong individuals speaking about what it means to be Hmong, celebrating Hmong culture and offering perspectives on strengthening the community.
Bo Thao-Urabe, recently nominated by President Obama for the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, is the festival’s special guest speaker . Thao-Urabe hosts the workshop “Maximizing the Potential of Hmong-Americans to Solve Community Challenges,” from 1 p.m.-3 p.m., in Armory Loft 3.
Moua Classical Band, a Hmong cover band from Sacramento, headlines the festival. A fashion show at 3 p.m. features traditional Hmong dress. A New Year’s Night Party follows the festival from 7 p.m.-11 p.m. in Seattle Center Pavilion and includes performances by Moua Classical Band, Narrow Nimbus and Viem Lo. Tickets are $12 presale or $15 at the event.
A marketplace serves Hmong specialties including sausage with hot peppers and sticky rice, spicy green papaya salad, eggrolls and nam vam (tri-colored tapioca in coconut milk). Festival-goers may browse booths offering traditional Hmong attire, arts and crafts, jewelry, films and music.
Spiral Youth Club, an organization dedicated to bridging the gap between Hmong generations, offers children’s workshops, 12 p.m.-3 p.m., on the Armory balcony. Arts and crafts activities include making and decorating traditional Hmong hats.
Seattle Center Festál is a program of Seattle Center Productions. Admission is free-of-charge. For more information on Hmong New Year Celebration and other Seattle Center public programming, click on Seattle Center or call 206 684-7200.