|The 2010 KORUS Festival|
Fairfax County Board of Supervisor Chair Sharon Bulova told the Annandale blog she is pursuing George Mason University and the Annandale campus of Northern Virginia Community College as potential locations.
KORUS organizer Mike Kim of the Korean American Association of the Washington Metropolitan Area says he is also exploring other sites but “we are still hanging on to using the Kmart parking lot.” He hopes it will be possible to move the three-day festival to the left side of the lot in front the stores adjacent to Kmart.
Kim says GMU is a possibility but NOVA is not likely to be feasible, as there are classes and activities during the weekend, so the parking lot probably won’t be available.
If Kmart is definitely ruled out, he would consider having it at Bull Run Regional Park in Manassas, but says that site is too rural and is not as convenient. He says KORUS is “really about being a part of the community, not hidden away in the country,” and Annandale, the center of the Korean community in the Washington metropolitan region, is the best spot.
Earnest Boyd, manager of the Annandale Kmart, indicated his opposition to KORUS is more about the damage caused by festival-goers than loss of business during the festival.
“We had a lot of problems,” he says. “Merchandise was damaged. Kids were in the store break dancing, and furniture and appliances were broken. There was feces all over the wall in the bathroom. Cars were damaged.”
According to Boyd, the festival was supposed to be limited to a certain area of the parking lot, but “it took over the majority of the parking lot,” and there was “a lot of trash” left behind. He notes that it’s up to Kmart’s corporate office to make the final decision.
“If anything happens, we are willing to compensate them,” says Kim. His organization provides a $1,000 deposit to Kmart to cover damages. If Kmart wants a $5,000 deposit, that would work, too, he says.
Boyd says the annual spring carnival—which is happening now and will be on the Kmart lot through May 22—won’t be back after this year, either, as a matter of fairness.