Korea’s Most Celebrated Foreign Festival Saved by Seoul Government
- 2009 St. Patrick’s Day Festival to focus on community spirit thanks to “rub of the green” –
(Seoul, 09.02.26) With business tightening its belt buckle in the face of the prevailing global economic downturn, one of Korea’s largest and most well-attended foreign festivals has received last-minute funding to ensure its celebration in 2009. Thanks to sponsorship and assistance from the City of Seoul, Korean Air, Diageo Korea (Guinness) and the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Seoul’s 9th Irish Festival – 2009 St. Patrick’s Day Festival – will go ahead as planned in Daehangno on Saturday, March 14th from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Attracting an estimated 18,000 attendees in 2008, the Irish Festival, organized by the Irish Association of Korea (IAK), was in danger of not going ahead this year as significant corporate sponsorship was not renewed. The traditional and colorful street parade is a costly venture, and the festival in Seoul had also traditionally been accompanied with a free open air concert and fair. However, thanks to our loyal support from long-standing sponsors, this year’s festival will focus on continuing to build community spirit.
“Guess we got the rub of the green again!” joked Kevin Tobin, Chairman of the IAK. “Every year we get more and more involvement and participation from Korean and non-Irish community groups and individuals, and there is an unwritten expectation in Seoul that this event will take place.
“As a group of volunteers, both Irish and Korean, we rely on the spirit of the community and other groups to make our event a success. This is what St. Patrick’s Day is about: sharing and celebrating cultural diversity together.”
The Festival will feature both Irish and Korean samul nori and dance, including six brass bands, rock ‘’n’ roll, traditional Irish music plus traditional Irish dance, featuring exhibition step dancing. The audience will be invited to participate in what has become a Seoul Irish Festival tradition – Irish folk dancing. There will be an informal parade through the streets of Ihwa-dong, east of Daehagno Boulevard, starting and ending at Marronnier Park. The IAK is calling on all Koreans and members of the foreign community to participate in and support this friendship march and to celebrate Ireland’s national holiday by wearing green. The IAK will accommodate all non-profit groups wishing to follow our bagpiper in our St. Patrick’s Parade as we wind through the streets of Ilwha-dong, around Marronnier Park.
Traditional Irish Concert & Fair – Marronnier Park, Daehangno, (Hyewha Station, #4 Light Blue Line, Exit 2) 11 a.m., to 5 p.m., March 14th
St. Patrick’s Day Parade – start @ Marronnier Park, Daehangno, 1 to 2 p.m., March 14th
‘Hooley’ at Dublin Terrace in Gangnam, 5 minutes from Gangnam Station, Exit 7 – from 7 p.m. to late (tickets at 50,000 won, includes free Guinness, drinks and food until 1:30 AM, discounted pricing after 1:30), March 14th
Visit http://www.iak.co.kr for up-to-date information about the 9th Irish Festival in Korea (or www.seoulshamrock.co.kr).