Arts and Entertainment

Han Woo-Ri: Korean culture fest returns May 15-17

At this year’s Han Woo-Ri Festival, a top Korean B-Boy group will be spinning on their heads, twisting their bodies and launching themselves into the air. - Courtesy photo
At this year’s Han Woo-Ri Festival, a top Korean B-Boy group will be spinning on their heads, twisting their bodies and launching themselves into the air.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Flashy colors, sizzling food and dancing are coming to Federal Way in a familiar place and time.

Han Woo-Ri, the Northwest Korean Sports and Cultural Festival, kicks off on May 15, with opening ceremonies starting at 6 p.m.

While the opening ceremony is a ticketed event, the remainder of the event runs 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. both Saturday, May 16, and Sunday, May 17 — and is free and open to the public.

After an indoors version last year, the festival will return to The Commons mall parking lot.

Last year, the festival was moved indoors due to construction on the front side of the mall as well as the Federal Way Farmers Market.

Also in 2007, The Commons had announced that it would no longer hold the city's Festival Days in the mall parking lot, citing a loss of parking spaces as well as the festival taking business away from the mall.

However, this year Han Woo-Ri will once again be under the big tent at the mall.

Attendance for the event is projected at over 10,000, organizers said.


The event

This year, there will be three performing groups coming in from Korea, all representing different genres.

A top Korean B-Boy group will be spinning on their heads, twisting their bodies and launching themselves into the air both Saturday and Sunday.

The B-Boy dancing will continue with the Battle of the B-Boys on Sunday, which will feature both Korean and 16 local Pacific Northwest B-Boys.

The second genre will feature Beat Circle, an Asian-influenced "STOMP"-like group that uses rhythm, beats and movement in their performances.

In a more traditional performance, young women from the Kyung-Gi province, dressed in colored robes, headdresses and singing traditional songs.

"There are so many things happening in both days," Doherty said. "You can come back. It's definitely worth seeing both times."

Recently added to the festival is Korean musical sensation Lim Jeong-hyun, an electric guitar virtuoso who covers classical music in a rock-n-roll style. He is best known for his cover of "Canon in D Major," which he calls "Cannon Rock." A YouTube clip of his performance of the song has already been viewed by more than 58 million.

In addition to the performances, there are several booths throughout, including food demonstrations, tae kwon do, calligraphy, fabric flowers and traditional Korean cultural events, including costumed weddings and tea ceremonies.

Those interested in bonsai will have plenty of opportunities this month to learn more. In addition to Weyerhaeuser temporarily reopening its Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection for the Buds and Blooms Festival this weekend, Han Woo-Ri will have a Korean bonsai master who will give a presentation on shaping and caring for bonsai.

"It's a one-two punch," Doherty said.

Festival highlights

11 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 16-17

Festival village: Exhibits, crafts, food, calligraphy workshop, children's activities, fabric flower display, "royal costume" photo booth and more.

Main festival stage: Continuous music and dance performances, including traditional dance troupe from the Korean province of Kyung-Gi. Also traditional wedding and tea ceremonies, tae kwon do demonstrations, Korean cooking lessons, Korean master bonsai and children's music and dance performances.


6:30 p.m. May 16

Beat Circle on the main festival stage: A contemporary Korean percussion-based group that combines rhythm, beats and movement in a mesmerizing performance, reminiscent of the international hit "STOMP."


6 p.m. May 17

Battle of the B-Boys on the main festival stage: Korea's answer to hip-hop. Direct from Seoul, a top B-Boy team "MA 85 Crew" performs, then hosts an open "battle" with regional B-Boy teams.

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