Review: 20th Annual Korean Dano Spring Festival

I was asked during a recent interview if I attend every Korean event in Toronto. I wish I could but I do try to attend as many as possible – especially the larger ones or the ones that are more geared to the general public. One such event I’ve attended over the past couple of years was the Dano Festival.

This year was the 20th Annual Korean Dano Spring Festival and unfortunately for the organizers, Mother Nature really didn’t cooperate. The festival is on Friday evening and all-day Saturday (of the first weekend in June I believe), and this year it fell on June 1st and 2nd. Friday June 1st had some of the worst weather of the spring with crazy winds and heavy rain which forced the organizers to cancel many of the scheduled activities for that evening. Like the free screening of The Host (괴물) by the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF) and the semi-finals of the All TV K-pop Cover Dance Competition. Which sucked for everyone – organizers, participants and festival-goers – as I know quite a few people who were looking forward to both events. Myself included!

Friday night’s crowd was small because of the rain

I live close to Christie Pitts – the Dano Festival location – so I went anyways to say ‘Hi’ to people I knew would be there and to see Thoroughbred State (one of the musical performances scheduled). As you can see from the pictures, I wasn’t the only person but there certainly weren’t a lot of people in attendance. Not long after Thoroughbred State performed – great set by the way – I decided to leave as I was cold and soaked to the bone.

The crowd was small (and wet) but Thoroughbred State didn’t disappoint

Thankfully Saturday’s weather was much nicer (and warmer). I brought a large group from Say Kimchi – there was around 20 of us – just like last year. However, this year’s group was much larger. It’s difficult to keep a large group together! But much fun was had at the many booths and activities.

We ate some yummy food – well, the girls in our group did… the guys just watched – from the great food stalls. One of the things I miss most about Korea is the street food and Korean festivals in Toronto always bring out some great options. I just wish we had more of it all of the time! Plus it’s a great opportunity for me to practice my Korean.

Jay playing tuho (투호, Korean arrow game)

There were lots of traditional Korean games to play – and some non-traditional ones too. Lots of fun was had even if it was embarrassing that two Korean grandmothers were much better at 널뛰기 (Korean seesaw) than me. But of course, I tried!

I was very bad at it but Annie and I had fun!

The main stage had some great performances like traditional dancing and drumming. So there was always something to watch. Plus, the All TV K-pop Cover Dance Competition was on and wow, were some of the dancers great! Check out All TV’s YouTube channel if you missed any of them. Mixed Seouls – the winners – were amazing! Oh, and if you have a minute, please fill in their short survey so next year’s event will be even better.

The beautiful fan dance

Both TKFF and NKHRFF were on hand to promote their film festivals. TKFF was selling tickets and festival passes but don’t worry if you didn’t get a chance to buy yours, you still can. Just head over to the TKFF website for prices and locations. NKHRFF was promoting their fundraiser on June 9th where they will release their schedule and sell tickets. For more information, check out the NKHRFF Facebook event page.

Becky having fun posing with the cut-out of Jang Dong Gun

We also clowned around with All TV’s cut out of Jang Dong Gun and Kim Ha Neul from the new Korean drama (that I can’t stop watching) A Gentleman’s Dignity (신사의 품격). And no, I’m not kissing Jang Dong Gun in the picture – just pretending to. ^^

Me pretending to kiss Jang Dong Gun for a fun photo op ^^

For me, the time spent with my friends playing and enjoying the festival was the highlight but a close second was the All TV K-pop Cover Dance Competition. Here’s a video of the winner, Mixed Seouls

But since pictures speak louder than words, here’s some of the fun we had!

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All in all, it was a fun weekend. I just wish the weather would have cooperated as I was really looking forward to both the All TV K-pop Cover Dance Competition semi-finals and the movie screening on Friday. Plus it’s way more fun listening to live music when it’s not pouring rain!

Cindy Zimmer

Live life to the fullest everyday - this is a the philosophy I try to live by and it's taken me on many adventures. I write about Korean culture from a non-Korean perspective as the editor/founder of ATK Magazine and I'm the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF). Previously, I ran a Korean-English language exchange group (in Toronto) for 3 years to stay connected to my three years living in Korea as an English teacher. I love music, film, food and sports and write about 3 of the 4.

One thought on “Review: 20th Annual Korean Dano Spring Festival

  • June 12, 2012 at 5:14 am

    Shame about the weather. I totally agree about street food. It is so awesome in Korea and it’s something I wish we had here in Australia.

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