From the smell of marinated sweet and savory beef sizzling on the grill to artfully choreographed traditional fan dances, a local church is offering a taste of the Korean peninsula here in Columbia.
This year’s Columbia Korean Festival will be Saturday, Oct. 31 at the Korean Community Presbyterian Church.
The church started hosting the event in 2005 as a way to educate residents about the Korean culture and to raise money for local charities. To this day, the festival is held in the church parking lot and on adjacent streets.
The Rev. Dong Yung Kim, the church’s senior pastor, said about 3,000 people attended last year’s festival, which raised about $12,000 for charities like Harvest Hope Food Bank and the Oliver Gospel Mission.
“We want to share our unique culture, and also we want to be part of this community,” Kim said. “Also, we want to help our local charity groups by sharing our talents and many cultures.”
The aspects of Korean culture featured during the festival ranges from the traditional, such as taekwondo demonstrations by Yim’s Tiger Tae Kwon Do Academy, to newer fads, such as a K-pop, or Korean Pop, dance by the church’s youth group. Church members and students in Columbia’s Korean Language School also participate in other performances, such as a senior line dance and a children’s choir.
Church members also prepare Korean specialties, such as Korean pancakes, kimchee, marinated ribs and steak, dumplings and more. Local restaurants Hero Korean Steak House and Korea Garden also will have food at the event.
Kim said the popularity of Korean cuisine has grown in recent years and has fueled growth of the festival.
“There used to be not many people who know about Korean food,” he said. “… Now people are getting familiar and really love the taste of Korean food and see the best of Korean culture.”
From those who already appreciate and celebrate Korean culture to those who know nothing about it, all are invited to attend.
“We want to kindle the spirit of family and community,” Kim said. “We hope that this can be an asset to the community. Please come and enjoy.”
Jane Moon Dail, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you go
Columbia Korean Festival
TIME/DATE: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31
LOCATION: Korean Community Prebysterian Church, 1412 Richland St.