A live DJ performance held during the 2019 Itaewon Global Village Festival, in front of the Hamilton Hotel Itaewon, in Yongsan, central Seoul. (Itaewon Global Village Festival Organizing Committee)
The annual Itaewon Global Village Festival returns this weekend after a two-year pandemic pause, Seoul’s Yongsan-gu Office announced Thursday.
During the festival, more than a million visitors of various nationalities are expected to come together in the neighborhood of Itaewon, known as the melting pot of Korea, with dozens of ethnic restaurants found throughout its alleys.
Under the slogan, “Let’s Get Together,” the festival’s main events will be held in the Itaewon Special Tourism Zone Area, situated in the middle of Yongsan’s three intersecting districts — Hangangjin, Itaewon and Noksapyeong Stations. The festival will run Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Various cultural performances with live music, art and food, will be featured. World food and beverage vendors will be set up through the larger Itaewon area, with outdoor DJ parties being held in the evenings.
The festival’s highlight, a parade, will take place at 3 p.m. on Saturday. More than 1,000 participants from 32 different teams have registered to participate this year in the 1.4-kilometer-long parade, which starts at Hangangjin Station and passes through Itaewon Station, then onto the festival’s main stage, near Noksapyeong Station.
Participants wave to visitors during the traditional culture competition, held as part of the Itaewon Global Village Festival, in 2019. (Itaewon Global Village Festival Organizing Committee)
In Itaewon, traditional cultural experience booths representing 14 countries will be set up along with 26 booths where visitors can learn about Korea’s neighboring countries. Visitors can take part in cultural activities and purchase antique crafts from different countries.
At the world food zone, some 45 popular Itaewon restaurants and eateries in Yongsan that serve cuisines from different countries will be represented, as well as tents staffed by Yongsan residents offering Korea food and draft beer as well.
The World Traditional Culture Competition and Itaewon Dance Competition will also take place onstage while street busking and DJ parties will be held in front of the Hamilton Hotel Itaewon.
As part of a green initiative, festival organizers have come up with a new campaign this year, named “Awaken the Sleeping Tumbler.” Those who bring their own tumblers to the festival will be provided with free drinking water. A separate booth will be dedicated to collecting tumblers for recycling, before and after the festival.
“We hope the festival brings back the cheerful spirit that Yongsan and Itaewon once had, and contribute to helping out merchants who have gone through hard times over the past two years,” the festival organizer told The Korea Herald, Friday.
Celebrating its 19th edition this year, the Itaewon Global Village Festival has been held annually since 2002.
By Kim Hae-yeon ([email protected])