Seoripul Festival the first of its kind

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Seoripul Festival the first of its kind

The Seocho District Office announced this week that it will hold its Seoripul Festival, named after the etymological origin of Seocho, from Tuesday through Sunday.

About 50 cultural performances will be held around the district, starting with the opening ceremony at Some Sevit, the artificial island along the Han River.

The Seocho Gangsan Parade, the festival’s main event, kicks off at 4 p.m. on Sept. 20, and will feature 35 teams made up of some 900 people who will march four kilometers (2.4 miles) from Some Sevit to the Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul.

For the parade, Banpo-daero, a 10-lane boulevard that stretches south from Banpo Bridge to the Seoul Arts Center, will for the first time be entirely restricted.

“The parade is called the Gangsan Parade because it begins at the river [gang, in Korean] and ends at the mountain [san],” said a district office official. “The parade is divided into five different sections, each with a theme.”

The parade will be headed by a select group of VIPs, including Hwang Ui-seon, 91, who guarded officials in the Korean Provisional Government under the Japanese colonial rule. They will be followed by a military choir and martial artists. The event also features a moving opera, “La Traviata,” to be performed by the Seocho District Choir.

Former President Park Chung Hee’s Cadillac and the country’s first domestic car, the Pony, will appear as well.

“It’s going to be a parade everyone can enjoy,” said Kolleen Park, the general director of the parade.

Perhaps most notable about the parade is that it was organized entirely for free, without the use of any district funds. All participants are volunteers who willingly chose to donate their time and talent.

“The Seocho Gangsan Parade is the first of its kind in that all its participants are district residents, and there was no funding put forth from the district office,” said Cho Eun-hee, who heads the Seocho District Office. “We will take this as an opportunity to make it a world-class festival, like the Edinburgh Festival [an arts and cultural event that takes place each summer in Edinburgh, Scotland].”

About 300 local restaurants have also joined efforts with the festival and will provide 10 to 50 percent discounts. The venues will post stickers on their entrances to show their participation.

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