An impressive array of Korean martial artists, marching bands, ornate attire, traditional dancers and fantastic floats traveled down Sixth Avenue as the Korean Parade & Festival celebrated its 30th anniversary on Saturday.
Governor David A. Paterson served as a Grand Marshal and participated with other notables in a large-scale Korean cooking demonstration of bibimbap (beef and mixed vegetable rice). The Korean Parade was presented by the Korean American Association of Greater New York (KAAGNY) with the support of lead corporate sponsor the Korea Times. The event was additionally sponsored by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, Overseas Koreans Foundation, the Korean Cultural Service New York, the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in New York and Busan Cultural Foundation.
Under the banner “A Taste of Seoul,” the Korean Parade & Festival helped New Yorkers sample the rich culture, food and art of South Korea , offering a hint of what is available in capital city Seoul . New Yorkers stopped by the City of Seoul booth at the Festival, a street fair taking place on 32nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, to find out more about exciting vacation opportunities to see spectacular events and festivals in Seoul later this year. Events include the Seoul International Fireworks Festival; the Asia Song Festival, with top performers from more than 10 Asian countries; the Seoul Lantern Festival; and the G20 Seoul Summit, when South Korea welcomes leaders from the Group of 20 nations, and much more.
A dramatic display of peace envoys in full Korean traditional regalia representing Joseon Tongsinsa, goodwill missions sent from Korea to Japan between 1392 and 1590, and again between 1607 and 1811, marched in the parade. One hundred thirty-six re-enactors of these diplomatic and cultural delegations flew in from South Korea to New York for the event. The original missions led to nearly 200 years of peace between Japan and Korea .
“Just as these delegations were sent to build friendly relations between Korea and Japan, so did the group come to the U.S. to spread Korean goodwill and a message of peace to the U.S. and New Yorkers,” said Yonghwa Ha, president of KAAGNY, an umbrella group for the 1,000 Korean business, religious, artistic, sports and civic groups representing the approximately 500,000 Koreans living in the New York metropolitan area.
The Music Festival, was headlined by Eugene Park, a firebrand of an electric violinist called “Paganini with a few dashes of Pete Townshend thrown in” by The New York Times. It included The Korean Channel’s (TKC) Singing Contest, where New Yorkers tried their hand at singing Korean songs for prizes. Samulnori, a performance of Korean folk percussion (drums and gongs), was presented. And Korean break dancers threw down the gauntlet to their American counterparts in the first-ever B-Boy Contest.
The event also included a Kids Korner with face painting, arts and crafts, Korean drumming and dancing, traditional folk games and clowns. Popular local restaurants offered delightful Korean cuisine and other vendors displayed their wares at the Festival.
For more information on KAAGNY, go to http://www.nykorean.org/.