|The 2010 Korus Festival|
KORUS brings thousands of people to Annandale, most of them Korean-Americans from across the D.C. region, for music and dance performances, martial arts demonstrations, food, and vendors. The three-day festival has been held in the Kmart parking lot since 2006.
Gross says she would like the festival to remain in Annandale but says the stage is “humungous,” so that makes it hard to find a suitable location. She says alternative sites in Annandale, such as Ossian Hall Park or Mason District Park, where it was held in 2003, aren’t big enough. “The question is capacity,” she says. “Nothing is large enough.” Kim estimates the attendance at last year’s event was 70,000.
Gross says it would impossible to relocate the festival to the Little River Shopping Center (with the Safeway), because every merchant in the center would have to agree to have it there.
Steven Choi, president of the Korean American Association believes Gross and Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova are “not welcoming.” If they wanted to help, he says, they could make it happen.
In response to Kmart’s complaints about losing customers that weekend, Kim says, “we’re willing to compensate them” to make up for their losses.
“It’s just so frustrating,” he adds. “Annandale is the center of the Korean-American community of the entire region, so KORUS belongs here. It’s a tradition.”