The press release touting this weekend’s forthcoming Chicago Korean Festival may have set a new standard for candor.
“Chicago’s Korean Fest Strives to Survive Another Year; Going on Not-So-Strong for the 19th Annual,” declared the headline on the announcement written by Lily Kim, managing partner of the online magazine, Ascene Chicago.
It’s not often that a notice seeking visitors for one of Chicago’s many neighborhood ethnic festivals tells it like it is, warts and all.
But this decidedly downbeat press release goes on to note that the festival is “working with a negative bank account in the tens of thousands” of dollars, is running short of sponsors and has seen some of its organizers drop out in a dispute over where the festival should be located.
In the process, the popular Kimchi preparation demonstration has been cancelled and the popular B-Boy Battle is in jeopardy, although the festival is still billed as the place to go for Kimbap to K-Pop. Translations to follow.
“We just have to put on a festival to make sure there is a 19th annual celebration. We will do the best we can so the people can come and experience the Korean culture,” festival chairman Dan Lee was quoted as saying.
“We will do the best we can” is not what I would call an enticing invitation to the public, but I’m thinking these folks deserve a little extra boost, if only for their honesty.
Toward that end, please note that this year’s Chicago Korean Festival, also known as K-Fest, will be returned to its original site on Bryn Mawr Avenue between Kimball and Kedzie from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
While you may miss out on the kimchi demonstration and possibly the b-boying (break-dancing), everything else is proceeding as planned, including Sunday night’s concert at adjacent Northside College Prep featuring J-Reyez, Lil Crazed, Rob Campman and Jargon.
In addition, there will be a singing contest (karaoke), a ssireum tournament (traditional Korean wrestling) and obviously lots of Korean food vendors, where you can eat your kimchi even if nobody will tell you how to make it.