After going virtual for two years, the Bay Area’s largest Korean cultural festival will return in person this Saturday in San Francisco with food, K-pop, live performances and a bigger turnout in a bigger venue.
Chuseok—the second-most important holiday in Korean culture after Seollal, the Korean new year—celebrates the autumn harvest and full moon on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar.
The Korean Center, a longtime local nonprofit dedicated to preserving Korean culture and serving the Korean immigrant community, is organizing the event.
“We consider it the Korean version of Thanksgiving,” Korean Center spokesperson Donna Mo told The Standard.
During Chuseok, family members gather, “eat lots of delicious food” and pay respect to their ancestors, Mo explained.
The Korean Center started this festival in 2019 with San Francisco Supervisor Catherine Stefani leading the call in City Hall to officially recognize “Korean Chuseok Day” and honor the local Korean American community.
The 2019 event was held on a small lawn in the Presidio. Then came the pandemic, which forced subsequent celebrations to go virtual.
After holding the event online for 2020 and 2021, the festival plans to make a stronger comeback this year to the Presidio’s Main Parade Lawn, which lies across from the brand new Tunnel Tops park, a bigger space for more people to come.
The ambition for the event is bigger, too, than when it started.
Mo said they wanted to create a festival not only for Korean Americans to come together and celebrate their heritage, “but also to introduce Korean culture to the public.”
According to a San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ resolution, Korean Americans are the sixth largest Asian population in the Bay Area with approximately 90,000 residents in the nine-county region. The city has been a “principal port” of entry for Korean immigrants in the last century and a center of political activism and cultural importance for Korean Americans.
Saturday, Sep 10, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Free entry
Han Li can be reached at [email protected]