Last month, I had the chance to travel and attend the first ever Chuseok Festival in San Francisco. I was just visiting for a few days in the city and what great timing it was because apparently an event like this would be taking place! It was a friend who informed me about it, and of course I was keen to go! As an avid fan of the Korean culture, I was interested to experience the culture from a different perspective.
What is Chuseok by the way? This is Korea’s Thanksgiving Day wherein traditionally, Koreans travel back to their hometowns to be with their families. Together, they give thanks to their ancestors. They eat together, share stories, and play traditional games.
The 1st Annual Bay Area Korean Chuseok (Harvest) Festival was hosted by the Korean Center, Inc. and was held at the Civil War Parade Ground, The Presidio. It was an 11AM-5PM event jampacked with activities. There were kite flying, hanbok fitting, and water lily pattern making. The festival was held in an open area — it was a clear sky and the sun was blazing but the attendees were ready with their mats laid down on the grass. Some even had tents!
A stage was set wherein different performances were held such as Korean traditional dances, KPOP cover and flashmob dances, taekwando exhibitions, and choir and solo singing presentations. Aside from watching the show, attendees could roam around the field to go eat some gimbap and tteokbokki from the various food trucks! There were long lines in each of them, but we managed to grab some “snacks” for ourselves!
There were also lots of other booths around. Aside from food, there were arts and crafts on display like ceramics, accessories, and apparel. There were also non-profit organizations there which was extremely helpful if you want to know more about the Asian community in San Francisco. My friend was interested to take Hangeul classes and so we chatted for a bit with the folks at the booth.
There were also Kimchi Festival stage at the other end of the park with exhibits of different kinds of kimchi!
It was interesting to experience this festival because it gave me a glimpse of the Korean community in a different country. This is the first one, and I must say it was a success! We will definitely look forward to this for the next year!