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Korean American Friendship Festival

Members of Team Osan and the surrounding local neighborhoods just recently participated in a cultural exchange throughout the 12th yearly Korean American Friendship Festival, Oct. 17 and 18.

The festival, hosted by the Songtan Chamber of Commerce, is a two-day event held each fall to celebrate the collaboration of the U.S. and the ROK. It also supplies an opportunity for both cultures to learn about each other.

"The event is everything about the neighborhood, both for the service members and families of Team Osan, and likewise for the citizens of Songtan and the surrounding locations," said Col. Andrew Hansen, 51st Fighter Wing commander. "Although we do not share a common language, our ability to come together, is what brings true worth and strength to the Korean and U.S. alliance.

"Our community was built on the concept that our two nations could work, live and succeed together side-by-side," he continued. "The servicemen and women at Osan Air Base stand ready to support and defend the Republic of Korea, against all opponents and risks, not even if that is our objective, however because it is the ideal thing to do."

Thousands of Americans and Koreans collected for the festival which was held simply outside the base gates in the Songtan Entertainment District.

This year's celebration featured Taekwondo practitioners, American and Korean stage entertainers, home entertainment booths, and cultural foods. Some suppliers even taught attendees how to make Kimchi, a standard fermented Korean side meal.

"This Korean American Friendship Festival works as a venue for harmonization in promoting interaction and understanding of one another's culture and it likewise plays a key part in facilitating friendship in between the local neighborhood and [United States Forces Korea]," said Kong, Jae-kwang, Pyeongtaek City mayor. "I hope both celebrations will grow into real neighbors going beyond language and cultural distinctions through the occasion."

The festival slogan is "Gatchi kapshida, Choen eeut doepshida" which equates to "We fit, Be a great next-door neighbor."