Chusok Festival in St. Paul


About 200 people participated in the Korean Quarterly’s (KQ) Chusok Run/Walk 2009 fundraiser on October 4, Chusok is a harvest moon festival, celebrated in Korea every year with family visits, games, outdoor activities, and special food, according to KQ’s website . The event at the Lake Phalen Park Picnic Pavilion area, beginning with a drumming ceremony by Shinparam Drumming Group and then a 5K race, followed by food, games and entertainment.

Activities at the St. Paul Chusok included kite making, face painting, and a four-stick game called “Yuht”, according to Mandi Spaid, a volunteer at the event.  There were also plenty of traditional foods such as Kim Bap, Mandu, and Hottok, as well as a demonstration of how to make Kimchi, a popular spicy, pickled salad. 

The race

by Mandi Spaid

The runners, walkers, and strollers all moved to the beginning of the line as the drumming ceremony came to a close. 

There, the groups separated and the runners moved to the front as the timed race began.  Large groupings of families and friends lined the walk/running path to cheer everybody as they made their way to the finish line.  In twenty-one minutes, fifteen seconds, Ron Wright, the winner of the race, came across the line.  Another man crossed the finish line pushing a baby stroller in less than 28 minutes. One mother even ran giving her daughter a piggyback ride for the last part of the race. 

There was also a place where people could write their name in Hangul, the native alphabet of the Korean language.  Aimee Aase, another volunteer, said that each character in the Hangul alphabet has its own distinct sound. 

After the race, runners could take advantage of free massages offered by volunteers.  There were also prizes, such as DVDs of Korean dramas, and a silent auction.

The event was also a benefit for Korean Quarterly, supporting its mission of providing news to the Korean American community of the Twin Cities and Upper Midwest.  For more than ten years, KQ has provided cultural news, literature reviews, and listings of events related to Korean culture. Korean Quarterly aims to serve the Korean community comprising first and second generation Korean Americans and their families (including non-Korean family members), adopted Koreans and their families, and bi-racial/bi-cultural Korean American people.


An appeal for help

by Mandi Spaid

Patrick McCarthy volunteered for Be The Match, an organization that helps match bone marrow donors.  He knows the family of a Korean adoptee diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and they are looking for a marrow donor.  Several groups connected with this volunteer and were making plans to announce the organization at their meetings.  Mr. McCarthy’s presence was one example of how KQ can reach out through a community.

Aase, co-chair of Adopsource,  said that KQ is a way for her to stay in touch with the Korean community.  An adoptee Korean woman who grew up in a small town, Aase said that KQ is a resource for the adoptee community as well as the greater Korean community. 

Mandi Spaid, also an adoptee and member of Adopsource, said KQ was how she keeps informed about events and news within the community. 

Organizers Martha Vickery and Steve Wunrow, who founded and publish KQ, are parents of adopted Korean children. They said that they were happy with the success of the fundraiser.