Wow, I just realized how busy I’ve been this past week. Been immersed by so much culture this whole week! So to end my busy week, I went to the 17th Chicago Korean Festival! And I must say it was simply awesome as a first time goer! Luckily, it was right next to my school so going wasn’t as much of a problem. Not to mention the venue was HUGE! The festival was held on a large strip of the road, which was around 3 whole blocks of stalls, stages, and small performances.
I actually volunteered with a few of my friends on Saturday as part of stage support, and I have to say I had a real work out from it! I was so busy running around doing errands and helping out with the performances. My legs are still sore from having to run from one end of the festival all the way to the other side just to check up on things. Best part was getting a free volunteer shirt and service hours for school xP I wasn’t really able to explore much on the first day because I was so busy, but I heard the food was really good and you could smell it through out the festival.
The performances were also very entertaining. I was able to get glimpses of performances such as pungmul/samulnori groups, taekwondo, k-pop dance competitions, ssireum(traditional wrestling), a rock band, and even a singing contest. There were also a lot of booths giving free, and selling items. And the most interesting thing that happened to me was being mistaken for a Korean. 😛 I realized how hard it is having a language barrier. Many of the older folks mistook me and would ask me things in Korean, but a friend and I were too dumbfounded to try and tell them we couldn’t answer them, luckily some of the other Korean-speaking volunteers were around to help us out. I really hope I can find a way to learn Korean so that this won’t be a problem anymore next year!
So after a tiring day, I left a little early with my family. I honestly wasn’t expecting to return on Sunday since I had no ride to the festival so I didn’t volunteer. But I was lucky enough to have a friend of mine drive me there with them. Since I wasn’t volunteering on the second day, I had more freedom to explore. I splurged a little, buying t-shirts and a flag instead of buying food xP I met up with a few other friends and waited around for the b-boy battle to start. It got delayed a little so I went with a friend to the KRCC booth.
I felt really happy seeing a bunch of my friends from ASM at the KRCC booth. Since I wanted to hang out with them for the rest of the time I stayed, I decided to help out their booth lol. My friend even let me wear a hanbok with her! It’s been one of my dreams to wear a hanbok and that made my life even better since I was doing it with a friend and helping out. Although it got really hot wearing it, it still was a lot of fun walking around wearing it at the festival. At one point, we helped a group of people try on the hanboks as well. Best part was when they made their guy friends wear them as well xP One of them begged me to help him get out from the situation!
I was really thankful they let me wear it and that they even let me help out. I had fun watching my friends trying to advertise KRCC t-shirts and to help people register for voting(they tried bribing people with free hugs and some kisses!) After a while, we went wandering back to the bboy battle, but found that the audience was too big and we couldn’t see anything, so we had to go back in vain. So I pretty much spent the rest of the time hiding out in the KRCC booth until my mom came to pick me up. Stayed for a little while longer to take pictures and buy food. It was a little sad that I had to leave, since I don’t really know when they next time I’ll see my friends from KRCC again. But the experience of K-Fest was wonderful. Everywhere you went, there were sounds of music and laughing everywhere. This is something that I’ll definitely be doing from now on, and I hope that I can help out again!
On another note: Psy’s Gangnam Style totally took over K-Fest! Some stalls played K-Pop and most of the time it was Gangnam Style! I saw people randomly busting out to the dance moves, some of the K-Pop dance teams danced to it, and there was even a Taekwondo team that danced to it! I also heard that there was a flashmob on Sunday for Gangnam Style! I’m pretty sure it isn’t far from conquering the world now lol!
So who else went? If you were there, do tell me about your experience! And I hope everyone checks it out next year as well!