English event celebrates holidays -- all of them

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English event celebrates holidays -- all of them

So you've bought your children the English books, the English cassette tapes and the English videos. You've sent them to the English institute after school. You've forced them to go say "hello" to that foreigner you saw on the subway one day.

What's next?

Well, you can send them to a festival that will soak them in English for a day.

The Language Bridge, a company that recruits native speakers of English to teach at private institutes, has organized an English festival where children can learn English songs and games and enjoy other entertainment.

The event, the 2002 English Festival for Kids, is also sponsored by a local English-language TV station, Arirang TV, and an education company, Educom. It starts today and runs until Tuesday at the Seoul Trade Exhibition Center in the Gangnam district of southern Seoul.

"It is the first time that such an English convention has been held here," said Kim Ju-young of Language Bridge. "There have been many 'English camps,' but they run for weeks and the cost is burdensome."

Admission to the convention is 15,000 won ($12) per day for children 12 and under and 7,000 for each accompanying adult. If an adult comes alone the ticket is 20,000 won.

The convention is designed to help children experience the culture of the various English speaking countries while having fun, Mr. Kim said.

Participants and their parents can visit displays celebrating one of 12 holidays, such as Halloween, Valentine's Day and Easter. One booth will be having a birthday party. Native English speakers will be leading the songs and games.

The other holidays that will be celebrated are New Year's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Earth Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, American Independence Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Toddlers will be able to climb up on Santa Claus's lap and tell him what they want for Christmas.

Also, a children's troupe will perform their version of "Nanta," the local percussion-based show in which performers used everyday objects such as spatulas and garbage pails as their instruments. The show will be held three times a day, with the first show starting at noon.

Other activities include a puppet show and a magic show, in English, of course. Clowns will be on hand doing their balloon art.

And when your children tire of speaking, they can get physical at a playground filled with toys.

by Lee Ho-jeong

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