GORYEONG-GUN, South Korea - Soldiers and families from the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command enjoyed a delightful Saturday afternoon at the Daegaya Experience Festival in Goryeong-gun, April 11.
The Daegaya Experience Festival is also known as the strawberry festival for Goryeong's delicious strawberries. It is an annual festival that celebrates the historical significance of the region.
Daegaya, a kingdom that ruled the province for five centuries until 562 A.D., was the region's affluence of agricultural products. Upon arrival, visitors see giant royal tombs and a historical museum on the hills. On the streets, rows of festival booths and food tents stretch hundreds of yards, welcoming the visitors to take part in the festivities.
There were plenty of fun activities for children as well, as the festival was clearly family-oriented. Approximately 100 festival booths offered a variety of entertainments, such as traditional Korean archery, mock sword fights and face painting.
"Archery was my son's favorite," said Spec. Zulivette Aponte-Burdine, S-1 clerk with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 19th ESC.
Team 19's annual participation in the festival is thanks to a retired U.S. Sgt. Maj. Jae Park, who now resides in the Daegu area. Originally from Korea, Park saw the local festival as a perfect way to introduce American soldiers to Korean culture and arranged for the Goryeong mayor's sponsorship to invite U.S. service members every year. The tour has grown popularity among the Americans. This year's total participants of 190 easily exceeded the previous mark.
"[Serving in Korea] is not just about coming to Korea to just work and leave," said Sgt. 1st Class Kwesi Adinkrah, operations noncommissioned officer in charge with HHC, 19th ESC, "It was good to be able to mingle with the locals and know what it means to be with other people."