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Chicago's Korean Festival Strives To Survive Another Year

With one week left to prepare for one of the city's most colorful events, the Chicago Korean Festival suffers to put on the two-day spectacle. The festival's committee is working with a negative bank account in the tens of thousands and with significantly less sponsors to support the event that will be held in the Albany Park neighborhood on Saturday and Sunday August 9-10.

"We just have to put a festival to make sure there is a 19th annual celebration," said festival chairman Dan Lee. "We will do the best we can so the people can come an experience the Korean culture in Chicago."

Two weeks ago, the new president of the Chicago Korean Chamber of Commerce announced that the location would move back from Northeastern University to the original site on Bryn Mawr between Kimball and Kedzie Avenues. This did not go well with several of the committee members and many dropped out.

Tim Olsen, a key player of the festival and the one in charge of bringing the B-Boy Battle on stage and chef Beverly Kim and ABC-7's Steve Dolinsky to demonstrate Kimchi preparations, was most upset about the abrupt changes. He decided to resign. However, hopes are still high that the festival will still go on without the many important members that decided to part.

"We are in this as a family, not just a Korean family but a Chicago family, our volunteers and staff are White, Black, Asian, etc. . . . makes no difference," said K-Fest Main Event Concert co-producer Samuel Bain. "Our love for Korean culture is what brings us together. We will strive to make each year better than the year before, and we are already looking forward to next year's 20th year anniversary of K-Fest."

The K-Fest Main Event Concert is a new element to the festival. 2 Fast 2 Furious MC JIN will headline the show, which features hip hop's J-Reyez, Lil Crazed, Rob Chapman and Jargon. The show will be hosted by Megan Batoon and Gabe from B96 radio. The concert will take place inside Northside Prep High School, adjacent to the festival, on Sunday, August 10 from 5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.

There will also be an abundance of Korean food vendors, Ssireum Tournament (Korean wrestling) and live traditional and contemporary musical performances.


Lily Kim is the managing partner of Ascene Chicago.


Comments welcome.


Posted on August 5, 2014

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