The 41st L.A. Korean Festival kicks off

September 19, 2014
Korean Festival

The opening ceremony of the 41st Los Angeles Korean Festival Thursday night drew thousands of people. (The Korea Times / Kim Young-jae)

By The Korea Times Los Angeles staff

The opening ceremony of the 41st Los Angeles Korean Festival Thursday night, drew thousands of Korean Americans, as well as a diverse set of locals, out to Seoul International Park.

The celebration of the kick-off of a four-day event included performances by Poppin’ Hyun-joon and Park Ae-ri, flutist Jasmine Choi and traditional dancer Lee Kyung-hwa; Korean community leaders, including Consul General Kim Hyun-myung, were among those who participated in a ceremonial ribbon cutting on stage.

This year, 280 booths were installed in the festival, one hundred of them offering goods from regions all around Korea, including soy products, ginseng, salted seafood and sweets and cookies and in particular from South Gyeongsang Province.

Cha Byung-ho, CEO of Cheonghaemulsan, said 34 businesses from South Gyeongsang set up booths this year, up from 20 last year. He predicted guava rice noodles, aloe pho and lotus root-based powder, specialty items, would draw attention this year.

Despite the heat, attendees flocked to street foods like spicy rice cakes, kimbap, barbeques, chicken and udon.

The event also featured promotional and demonstrative tents for car manufacturers Hyundai, Kia, Toyota and Ford, as well as T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T.

“I attend the festival every year, and it is plain to me that it’s cleaner and better-thought-out in terms of the placement of booths this year,” said Kim Yong-joo, 37.

The celebration will continue until Sunday, with the Korean Parade, the highlight of the four-day fest, set to open Saturday down Olympic Boulevard at 3 p.m.