By Pvt. Jamal WalkerOctober 27, 2009
DONGDUCHEON CITY - Soldiers and community members gathered for the 5th annual Korean American Friendship Festival Oct. 25 at the Dongducheon City Tourist Square.
"The event today is to enhance the Korean and American friendship. As you all know, Bosan Dong of Dongducheon is an international city in which the U.S. Army was stationed after the Korean War. Even during the difficult times of the war aftermath, the city had grown up with the U.S. Army installations," said Kim, Seong-soo, member of Republic Of Korea National Assembly, representing both Yangju and Dongducheon City.
The festival offered something for all ages with a variety of different types of foods and activities for the Soldiers and community members in attendance. Festival games were set up around the tourist square: mechanical bull, mallet and a hoop toss were offered free of charge with prizes given for whoever could beat the high score at the current time. Additional contests were offered for the fastest hamburger eater, limbo and the fastest beer drinker, which drew a large number of participants and spectators.
"This is the best Korean-American festival I have been to in Korea," said Josh Berry, an English teacher in Dongducheon who has been working here for four years. "The Korean people are more open to talking to Americans in comparison to the festivals I attended in the past. The Koreans would not talk to the Americans mostly because of the language barrier, but it is great today to come out and talk to them."
The festival also featured a food sampling section of Makgeoli and Pa Jeon, to include a barbecue catered by Marty's Bar and Grill, a local restaurant near USAG-Casey in Dongducheon city. The highlight was at sunset when Oh, Seo-chang, Dongducheon City mayor, accompanied with Kim, Lt. Col. Richard Fromm, USAG-Casey commander and other members within the Dongducheon City Council came to the middle of the tourist square to mix a bowl of Bibimbab, one that Fromm said is the largest bowl of Bibimbab he has seen, which many others agreed with, made to serve the 300 people in attendance at the friendship festival.
"The festival is well prepared," Berry said. "No one has to wait for anything, and there are many different events and activities for everyone to enjoy. I will definitely come back to the festival next year, as long as it is as good as this year's."