In Korean, that means something that’s “big, positive and great.”
On Saturday, April 27, the 2019 NC Korean Festival proved to be all those things: It had a big turnout; it was a positive thing for the community and cultural relations and – judging from the smiles on people’s faces – everyone had a great time.
This year’s festival, organized by the Korean-American Association of Greater Greensboro, took over Center City Park from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday and filled the park with K-pop music, Korean games, traditional and modern Korean costumes and a lot more. The festival also filled the air in and around the park – with the aroma of Kimchi, bibimbap, Korean barbeque and plenty of other enticing smells.
The organizers had some very good luck that really helped the turnout this year: The sky over Greensboro was virtually cloudless and the temperature was as comfortable as it gets. A nice breeze kept people cool but wasn’t so strong that it interfered with the games that often involved tossing things at targets.
The highlight of the festival was a K-pop song and dance contest that started at 2 p.m. and showcased about a dozen groups and solo acts that entertained a very enthusiastic crowd by singing and/or dancing to songs by BTS, Shinhwa, Red Velvet and other hot South Korean music acts.
The event organizers had selected the competitors from videos that hopefuls sent in and, after the contest, organizers said they were very impressed with the high caliber of the acts this year and also said that the level of talent represented a marked improvement over the last time the festival was held two years ago.
One representative of the Korean-American Association announced to the crowd after the K-pop contest that, while this event and the previous ones had been organized by members of the local Korean community, he wanted to see some Americans with no Korean heritage help plan the next festival. He said those interested in serving on the committee or participating in other ways can contact the group through the organization’s Facebook page.
Aside from the K-pop music, there were performances by drum groups and dances by fan dancers in traditional costume. There were also booths selling Korean artwork, T-shirts and K-pop paraphernalia, such as calendars featuring the popular girl group Twice. There was no Apink merchandise to be had, however.
There were, of course, booths where for $5 you could get a bowl of tangy Korean chicken and, for another $5, get a container of Kimchi. Meals came with a choice of chopsticks or forks.
The traditional Korean games were very popular with the kids at the festival. In one, the contestant carried a small block of wood on his or her head – no hands allowed – and then propelled it with a jerk of the neck to hopefully knock down other blocks of wood that were set up like bowling pins. In another game, the goal was to throw arrow-like objects with smooth, weighted tips into vase-like containers about eight feet away.
Representatives of the Korean-American Association said after the festival that they were extremely pleased with the turnout, the weather and the K-pop contestants, and they added that they considered the day a huge success.