an interactive and intercultural experience

Heather Mawhiney

Man, he’s totally wailing on that qeej!

    With more than 4,000 in the Eau Claire, Chippewa, and Dunn counties, the Hmong people make up an integral part of the culture of the Chippewa Valley, but not many non-Hmong can boast knowing much of their culture and heritage. The interactive and intercultural experience of Hmoobfest (Hmoob being the Hmong word for Hmong) celebrates the Hmong culture and invites Hmong and non-Hmong alike to join in the games, activities, and classes offered during this two-day event, hoping to foster understanding and a deeper connection to this fascinating culture. Fest-goers will have the chance to learn and play individual games such as Nrhia yas (jump rope with rubber bands) and Tua hneev (archery) to family games like tug-of-war or water balloon toss. If you’re not into games, but have a competitive side, there will be several contests you can join, including a Hmong spelling bee and speech contest. Cultural activities such as traditional dancing, singing (kwv txhiaj), storytelling (dab neeg), and riddles (lus taum) will be presented alongside classes to heighten the learning experience. Classes vary between free, including Paj Ntaub (embroidery), learning to play the Qeej (traditional wind instrument), and the Hmong sports of Kab taub (bamboo foot volleyball) and Tub lub (top spinning), to the fee-based egg roll making class, where participants take the recipe and six egg rolls home. Hmoobfest promises to be unique cultural experience the whole family can enjoy!

Hmoobfest • August 22-23 • Northern WI State Fairgrounds, 331 Jefferson Ave., Chippewa Falls • 9am to 4 pm • $1 in advance, $2 day of • 832-8420 •

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