The cultural phenomenon known as the Korean Wave began in the ‘90s with the rise of K-pop and Korean TV dramas. In the years since, the world has become enamored with exported South Korean entertainment, food, beauty products and more.
The Carolinas Chapter of the Global Korean Wave Federation hosts its third annual KoreaFest this month, and this year’s theme is “celebrating Korean identity.” Organizers have planned an event embracing the full spectrum of Korean culture, from the exuberance of K-pop to the gravity of Korean history. Everyone is welcome, and there is sure to be something for everyone.
Throughout the day, speakers including artist Dominic Pangborn will share their personal stories of immigration, adoption and identity, and Dr. Jung-Min “Mina” Lee will give a lecture on the American influence on K-pop. KoreaFest founder Heoak Lee, the incoming Eastern US president of the Global Korean Wave Federation, will discuss why there is a North and South Korea and will lead the tribute for the 100th anniversary of the March First Independence Movement, one of the earliest public displays of Korean resistance to Japanese rule in the early 1900s.
Go back in time with a traditional dance performance by dance troupe Youn Duck Kyung or get your adrenaline fix watching taekwondo experts from Lee Brothers and White Tiger spar. Root for your favorites as dancers vie for trophies and cash prizes in the K-pop dance contest. K-pop performers from the United States and Korea will take the stage into the evening, culminating in a performance by popular girl group H.U.B.
Try your hand at Korean games like gonggi and ttakji, learn to play a small, handheld drum, or dress up in a traditional hanbok, a special occasion dress. Take a class in the history of Korean pottery or challenge yourself to a K-pop dance class.
Come hungry to KoreaFest! Vendors including Seoul Garden, Ms. Mong and Itaewon Grill will serve a mix of traditional and fusion food, from tteok-bokki, bibimbap, kimbap and kimchi to bulgogi nachos and quesadillas. Plenty of snacks, desserts and beverages will be for sale.
There will also be celebrity meet-and-greets, a photo booth, Korean flag face painting and vendors selling K-pop merchandise, traditional souvenirs, jewelry and accessories, as well as K-beauty products.
Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Children 12 and under get in free. Celebrity meet-and-greet tickets are required for all ages. Visit nckoreafest.com for more information.