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Monday, September 11, 2017

2017 KORUS Festival no longer allowed at Kmart

The KORUS organizers were looking forward to bringing the event back to Kmart.
[UPDATED, Sept. 12: Negotiations are underway to move the KORUS festival to the Sully Historic Site in Chantilly, but nothing has been finalized.]

Organizers of the annual KORUS festival, a huge three-day celebration of Korean culture that had been planned for the Kmart parking lot in Annanadale Sept. 22-24, learned a couple of weeks before the event that they don’t have permission to use that venue.

The Korean American Association of Greater Washington (KAAW) failed to get a permit approved by Fairfax County by the Sept. 1 deadline, and the application was incomplete.

KAWW is scrambling to find another location at the last minute. KAWW President Young Chun Kim and her colleagues met with Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova Sept. 7 to explore other venue possibilities.

The Kmart site is no longer a viable option. When a permit is denied, there are no exceptions, said Penny Gross, Fairfax County Supervisor for the Mason District. Gross met with the KORUS organizers Sept. 5. She said she might have been able to help them if they had approached her sooner.

While KAWW did obtain permission from the owners of Kmart, they did not get permission from the owner of the Kmart property. There were other problems, too. For example, the site plan for the festival didn’t allow enough space for firetruck access.

KORUS is a huge event, so finding a new location at the last minute is challenging. The annual festival brings in entertainers from Korea, has dozens of vendors, and attracts about 30,000 people, said Changyul Lee, a reporter for the Korea Times.  

The budget for the festival is about $250,000, which comes from sponsors, including Maryland Live, Korea Times, and other sponsors; the Korean government; and booth sales. 

KORUS had been held at the Annandale Kmart for several years, but was evicted by the Kmart landlord after 2010, so it moved to Fairfax Corners then to Bull Run Regional Park, and finally to Tysons Corner in 2015 and 2016. 


  1. Wow, what a disaster. And shockingly, Penny Gross' hands are tied.

  2. It's not a pothole! PG is good at getting these filled

  3. Good grief, do you guys ever tire of blaming Penny? The organizers have been around the block a time or two, if they've gotten similar county permits in the past. And they had gotten permission from KMart, but not from the KMart landlord--who happened to be the entity that didn't let them stay after 2010. This wasn't just a bit of red tape that Penny might have cleared...

    1. No, they don't ever get tired of blaming her, and many of them just "bash and run."

      I'm not a huge fan of hers anymore, but seriously, the whining about her has gotten really old.

    2. Supervisor Gross should be working day and night to get events like this in Mason District, among many other things that are net positives to our district, and she is clearly not. This festival will NEVER come back to Annandale.

  4. I am huge fan of blaming Penny but in this case she did the correct thing. They knew what they were suppose to do and did not do it. That is not Penny's responsiblity it is all theirs. It does appear Penny or someone did come in and saved the day which with a $250,000 budget you should know what you are doing and should not need anyone else to save you from YOUR mistakes now that they are in Chantilly.

    1. You are absolutely correct.