A colorful, festive gathering that features dance, culture, art, music, food — and it’s free! (well, you have to pay for the food) The Hawaii Korean Festival this weekend has something for everyone and every budget.

The Korean Festival is an annual event put on by the Hawaii Korean Chamber of Commerce to “share, promote, and raise awareness of the Korean culture in the community.” Proceeds from the festival benefit the local community, including college scholarships.

The fun begins with Sunset on the Beach Friday evening in Waikiki. Local dance and musical groups will perform before the showing of a Korean movie. On Saturday, the action moves to Kapiolani Park and Bandstand — on the Diamond Head end of Waikiki, easy walking distance from Hawaii hotels and on bus and trolley routes.

I’m all good with the Korean dances, taekwondo demonstrations, cooking demonstrations and cultural displays. But I have to say I’m not too sure about the kimchee eating contest. Kimchee is a Korean fermented dish made of vegetables — I’ve only tasted the cabbage version. There is a Kimchi Field Museum in Seoul that has documented 187 varieties of kimchee. Different types of kimchee are made in the north and south, as well as by season. I have no idea what type of kimchee I tasted but it was pretty spicy. The idea of eating massive amounts of such a spicy dish makes my stomach hurt just thinking about it.

It looks like a great celebration, though, and I love the many different cultures that coexist in Hawaii. The photo is from Korean folk dancers in the Saturday Kailua Parade. The parade announcer didn’t have prepared notes for them, so he shouted out “who are you?” Then, “Oh, Korean folk dancers.” Like it was no big deal — every small town parade might have Korean folk dancers show up to take part. I love these islands!


  1. I love going to cultural festivals of all kinds. Lots of variety in your life is always a good thing. Our kids really enjoy the different foods, displays, and demonstrations. I particularly like the exposure to other worlds and cultures, it ensures a well rounded upbringing for them.

  2. Me too, I love Korean food! This looks like a fun time; I’ve never been to a Korean festival so I’m going to have to go check this out. Hawaii has the best cultural festivals!

  3. Thanks Lin, Tara, Abby, Isabel and ido96825 for the comments! Last year, I just happened to pass the park while the festival was going on. It’s so colorful & fun!


  4. These cultural activites are what make Hawaii the extraordinary melting pot that it is. Ethnic costumes, dances, foods, languages and people. It’s absolutely wonderful in every sense, as well as being educating and entertaining. I love this Korean festival and being the vegetarian that I am, I do indulge in Kim Chee. I like all types especially cucumber and turnip. Try it as I’m sure you’ll find some sort of Kim Chee that pleases your palate! …and remember that spicy food is another way to wake those endorphins up.

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