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Fall festivals to take place across Seoul

Oct. 1, 2023 - 16:01 By Lee Jung-joo

With autumn now here, Seoul's district offices will be hosting a variety of festivals open to everyone and free of charge.

The festivities will take place Oct. 3-9 and include dance performances, a city run, K-pop performance, a competitive parade, a street sports beer party and fashion shows. The following is a list of the district festivals set to take place celebrating the return of fall.

A Colombian folk dance group performs at the 2019 World Folk Dance Festival in Seongdong-gu, eastern Seoul. (Seongdong-gu Office)

World Folk Dance Festival in Seongdong

After a four-year hiatus, Seongdong-gu in eastern Seoul will host the World Folk Dance Festival on Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. in Wangsimni Square.

While this festival is a popular festival that has attracted approximately 2,000 visitors since it was first held in 2014, the event was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Visitors to the festival will be able to see performances by folk dance groups from Malaysia, Slovakia, Costa Rica, Lithuania, Tahiti, Kosovo, Ecuador, Poland, Brazil and the Philippines. Three dance teams from South Korea -- students from Sunhwa Arts High School, Project Chang and Ryu Dance Company -- will also perform dances unique to Korean culture.

“We hope that this year’s World Folk Dance Festival will be a time to experience and understand each other’s cultures,” said the head of Seongdong-gu, Chong Won-oh.

For more information, visit Seongdong-gu Office's official website.

K-pop boy band The Boyz performs at "Yeongdong-daero K-pop Concert" during the 2022 Gangnam Festival. (Gangnam-gu Office)

Gangnam Festival

Scheduled to take place Oct. 5-9, the Gangnam Festival will take place in various places around Gangnam-gu, southern Seoul, such as Yeongdong-daero, Coex and Maru Park.

The Gangnam Festival will kick off with its opening ceremony, which will take place at 7 p.m. on Oct. 5 at Coex K-pop Square. A fashion show, Gangnam Fashion Festa, will also take place in the Coex Starfield Library on Oct. 6, showing works by famous fashion designers based in Gangnam as well as Vietnamese designer Tran Hung.

On Oct. 7, ballad, rock and trot performances will be held in Maru Park by singers Sung Si-kyung, Kim Feel, Lee Chan-won and Park Hye-won and rock band Guckkasten.

The Yeongdong-daero K-pop concert, which the district office marks as a highlight of the Gangnam Festival, will take place on Oct. 8, and will feature various K-pop artists: StayC, aespa, Boynextdoor, Zico, Fromis 9, NCT Dream and Ateez.

The Gangnam City Run will close the festival on Oct. 9, under the theme of peace. A five-kilometer course, 10-kilometer course, half-marathon course and full-marathon course will be possible for runners. All participation fees will be donated to children in war-torn countries around the world or in poverty and to those in need in Gangnam.

For more information, visit the Visit Gangnam official website or Instagram page.

A cheerleading performance competing in the street parade during the 2022 Nowon Tal Festival in Nowon-gu, northern Seoul. (Nowon-gu Office)

Dancing Nowon

Nowon-gu in northern Seoul will host street festival “Dancing Nowon” Oct. 7-8 with dance parades, dance contests and kid-friendly events.

Dancing Nowon was redeveloped from the district’s “Nowon Tal Festival,” which showcased talchum performances or Korean dances performed wearing a traditional mask. Dancing Nowon was made for the district to host an event that can be enjoyed by all ages.

On Oct. 7, a street parade with dance, martial arts, drumming, hip-hop and cheerleading performances will take place, with the performers all competing for prize money up to 60 million won ($44,346). A street dance battle will also take place for prize money up to 8 million won.

On Oct. 8, a “Dancing Fashion Show” will also take place for prize money up to 6.5 million won, where participants will dance on the runway, showing off their clothes. Performances by rapper Outsider and dance team Red Crew will also take place, along with a breakdancing battle.

Visitors to the festival can enjoy a variety of food and drinks, while kids can try out kid-friendly experiences such as virtual reality games, face painting and making reusable eco-bags.

For more information, visit the Dancing Nowon official website or Instagram page.

Poster for the 2023 Gangdong Sports Street Beer Party, taking place on Oct. 7 in Gangdong-gu, eastern Seoul (Gangdong-gu Office)

2023 Gangdong Sports Street Beer Party

Gangdong-gu in eastern Seoul will host a beer festival to cheer for South Korea’s national teams in the final soccer and baseball matches of the Hangzhou Asian Games on Oct. 7 near Dunchon Market, along Gangdong Sports Street.

Aside from the street cheering event, the festival was also designed to revitalize the Dunchon Market area, which has been stagnant due to the recent reconstruction of the nearby Dunchon Jugong Apartments.

A 150-meter stretch of Yangjae-daero will be transformed into a stage for the street cheering events. A stage with a large monitor will be set up and picnic mats will be provided for visitors to enjoy the Asian Games matches with beer and food, which visitors can purchase from restaurants and supermarkets nearby.

The party will begin at 2 p.m. with musical performances and the street cheering event will begin at around 10 p.m..

“Gangdong Sports Street has been transformed into a unique sports-themed street where visitors can watch sports games while enjoying various eateries,” Kim Jun-oh, head of the Gangdong District Urban Landscape Division. "We will actively promote the street's revitalization by holding different festivals that are in line with the Hangzhou Asian Games in the future."

For more information, visit the Gangdong-gu Office's official website.