Fresno expects economic boost from Vang Pao funeral

Many businesses are preparing for a sales boom next week as visitors surge into Fresno for the funeral of Hmong leader Gen. Vang Pao.

Hmong leaders say that 30,000 to 40,000 people, including many from out of town, may attend the funeral over the course of the six-day event Feb. 4-9. They have booked the Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center with that in mind.

"The economic impact on the community is going to trickle down from the retailers all the way down to the farmers," said Bobby Vang, a partner in the Asian Village shopping center on Kings Canyon Road in Fresno. "It is going to be a huge event."

Vang said the level of business expected could rival that of the Hmong New Year, which draws 100,000 visitors during the week after Christmas each year.

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