The 10th Annual Korus Festival
By Jem Palo
You can tell a nation’s culture by its food, music or people. Well Virginia certainly got the full blast of Korean culture as it celebrated the 10th annual Korus festival last September 14-16. As the last whiffs of sizzling Bulgogi streams through the air, and the sound of North Korean musical instruments resound through the open field, three days of celebrating Korean culture has finally come to a close.
Held at Bull Runs Park in Centreville, Virginia the festival gave Koreans and non-Koreans three days of authentic Korean experience, with assorted food booths, music performances and fun activities.
Starting with the long stretch of food booths as you enter the park the Korean food newbie gets a crash course of Korean taste. Sizzling, grilling and cooking, the various food booths boast an array of cuisines that cater to every palate. Sweet and spicy chicken barbecue, honey pork belly sizzled to a crisp, scallion pancakes milky Bubble tea with pearls, assorted Korean ice cream, and of course the famous Bulgogi.
As the president of the Korean American Association in Washington USA (KAAWUSA)—the event’s main organizers—one of the distinguishing cultures of Korean is their food. “In America food is the way we are spreading our culture in the US. It has kept its unique aspect of the culture, and something we should preserve,”
Ronnie Razon, a Filipino immigrant and currently a sophomore at George Mason University, particularly likes the Samgyeopsal, among other Korean food.
As the only Korean festival held in the area, Korus also featured performances from various Asian American artists including Kollaboration DC finalists Chris Sta. Ana, and artists like rap group Manifest, SNRG and Japanese pop icon Salia.
Among the many spectators, Sarah Khursheed, also a George Mason sophomore and president of her university’s Korean American Student Association, watched gleefully as she described how she is fond of K-pop.
“I know there’s more into the Korean culture, but that’s what first really got me into it. I really like K-pop songs,” she said.
But the highlight of the event may be the coming of all ethnicities, together as one big Gangnam mob. To the famous dance steps of Korean Youtube sensation Psy, Koreans and non-Koreans, old or young, got up to their feet and grooved Gangnam Style. And in that single dance showcase, the festival perhaps reached its very purpose: to treasure Korean culture and diversity in the US, all in the name of “Jung” (Korean term for friendship).