Your Ultimate Guide to the 2019 Korean Festival in Honolulu
Celebrate all things Korean at this fun-packed fest that has it all.
Photos: Courtesy of Hawai‘i Korean Chamber of Commerce
Who doesn’t love kim chee and K-pop? Join Koreans and Koreaboos alike at the 17th annual Korean Festival to celebrate Hawai‘i’s vibrant Korean community with everything from food to entertainment.
What It Is
The Hawai‘i Korean Chamber of Commerce hosts the festival every year to share Korean culture through its flavor-packed food, catchy music and fast-paced dances. The festival expects 25,000 attendees this year to enjoy contests, art and games, an immigration photo exhibit and food. As one of the largest ethnic festivals in Honolulu, there’s enough fun to last all day.
Proceeds from the festival benefit Korean and other communities in Hawai‘i through student scholarships, personal finance seminars for seniors and immigrants, community outreach programs and more. HKCC awards three Korean students college scholarships at the festival and names Hawai‘i’s Korean Entrepreneur of the Year.
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Where and When
Pencil in Saturday, Aug. 10—the event begins at 11 a.m. and ends at 8 p.m. at Victoria Ward Park, 980 Auahi St.
Where to Park
Free parking is available at any of the Ward Village parking lots around Victoria Ward Park.
How Much it Costs
The event is free and volunteers will sell scrips that you can use to pay for food, products and some activities. Credit cards are accepted to buy scrips and an ATM will be available, but only scrips are accepted at the booths.
What to Eat and Buy
More than 70 food, sponsor and vendor booths will be there. Buy festival memorabilia, K-pop merchandise and handmade products, or head to the food booths to try kalbi, bibimbap and tteokbokki. If Korean food’s not your thing, don’t worry. Local food vendors will also be there selling steak, popcorn and ice cream. When you’re done eating, wash down your food with Korean drinks such as soju and rice wine for those 21 and older.
The headlining act this year is eSNa, a Los Angeles-born K-pop soloist based in Seoul. She appeared at both KCON LA and New York last year, and she’s written music for K-pop artists that include Mamamoo, 4Minute and Mad Clown. Her latest single, “Spoon,” features jazzy vocals and light electronic beats. The complete schedule isn’t yet confirmed, but the organizers expect another Korean boy-group to be there too.
You’ll also find traditional dance and local K-pop dance cover groups, Taekwondo demonstrations and a singing contest. Previously, the song contest only allowed Korean songs, but this year contestants can sing in any language. Twelve singers will be chosen from the audition on July 27 to perform at the festival and the grand prize winner gets a round-trip ticket to Seoul.
The festival also has cooking demonstrations at the dining area, a photo booth with Korean costumes, drawing for keiki, an immigration photo showcase and traditional games hosted by students.
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Make sure to dress for the hot August weather and bring anything you need to be in the sun: sunscreen, umbrellas or sunglasses.
The event is free, but bring money for food and merchandise. Vendors will only accept scrips as payment, which you can buy with a credit card or cash at the scrip and T-shirt booth.
The festival is looking for volunteers to staff booths, sell scrips and more. Volunteers get a free T-shirt! Go here to sign up.
For more information, visit koreanfesthawaii.com