Asia Pacific Cultural Center to host two celebrations
By Lynn Castle for APCC
Photo Courtesy of APCC
It’s one of the most revered and celebrated events in the Korean culture—Chuseok, the Korean Harvest Moon Festival. And this year, Asia Pacific Cultural Center is doubling up the celebration with two festivals on consecutive weekends: September 18 in Gig Harbor and September 25 in Tacoma.
Asia Pacific Cultural Center will present the festivals from 11am to 4pm at Skansi Brother Park and Netshed in Gig Harbor, and 11am to 5pm at APCC’s building at South Tacoma way on each of the two Saturdays. Korean Harvest Moon festivals are a special tradition celebrated worldwide, and each event will feature various Korean dance teams, Korean music and food, plus special presentations revolving around Korean culture.
The inaugural Chuseok Festival in Gig Harbor will host special guests Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland and Congressman Derek Kilmer, Korea Vice Counsel plus Gig Harbor Mayor Kit Kuhn.
According to a local planner of the event, Eunice Kim Setiawan, “This festival came about the way so many things do. People gather and talk.” Through her Gig Harbor-Port Orchard AAPI Facebook Group she started this year, Setiawan knows the number of AAPI community members in the area has grown. She felt strongly they would embrace an event celebrating Korean culture. If response to planning is any indication, then she was right.
Gig Harbor’s event will be held outdoors in a park, giving the event a small-town welcoming feel. Working to be more inclusive by hosting more diverse events, the City of Gig Harbor looks forward to celebrating the Korean community by hosting the inaugural Chuseok Festival. When Gig Harbor Mayor Kuhn was presented with the idea of a Chuseok Festival in Gig Harbor, he enthusiastically supported the endeavor. “I knew right away it was something our community would respond well to. We’re all craving fun, new experiences where we can learn and grow,” he said.
Planning and implementation of the event has brought together city members, local police chiefs, business leaders, friends, and even adoptees of Korean heritage. According to Setiawan, “It’s going to be nice to host a positive community event that celebrates our resiliency after such a hard pandemic year.”
Following the Gig Harbor event, the Fifth Annual Chuseok Festival in Tacoma will be held at Asia Pacific Cultural Center’s building. After last year’s virtual presentations, the Tacoma organizer, Patsy Surh O’Connell, is looking forward to a day-long live event at the center. “We love celebrating the biggest, brightest full moon with this festival,” said O’Connell.
“In the Korean culture, this festival is an opportunity to travel to burial sites and to give respect to our ancestors,” she added. It’s why at every past festival, O’Connell has included an Ancestral Respect Table to pay tribute to parents, elders and colleagues who have passed away.
A variety of performers, vendors and dignitaries will be featured at the Tacoma event on September 25, including Mayor Victoria Woodard, Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier, and Cultural Consul from Korean Consulate Junsik Kim. Performers will include the Mun Dance Team, Koreana Angels, and UW student-led K-POP group The Kompany. Musical performances will showcase the talents of local youth Alyssa Costa and Blake Nelson. The Tacoma event will host modern dance teams Miyoung Seul Margolis Dance Collective and the Cho Ki Seung Tae Kwon Do team. The Tacoma event will conclude with a drum performance from Thunder and Wind, including a traditional Chu Seok dance from Gang Gang Suele, where all participants will be encouraged to join in.
The 2021 Chuseok Festivals can be accessed virtually through the APCC Facebook Page at Facebook.com/AsiaPacificCulturalCenter.