GARDEN GROVE : 100,000 Expected at Korean Festival

The 10th Korean Festival of Orange County will kick off this weekend in the heart of the Korean business community with fireworks, a Miss Korea pageant and a parade featuring Gov. Pete Wilson as grand marshal, according to organizers.

More than 100,000 people are expected to attend the three-day affair, the premier Korean cultural celebration in Orange County, backers said.

The opening ceremonies start at 6:30 p.m. today at the festival grounds at 9590 Garden Grove Blvd., between Gilbert and Brookhurst streets.

The parade, with more than 100 entries, including marching bands, floats and dance units, will step off at 3 p.m. Saturday on the route along Garden Grove Boulevard between Kerry and Magnolia streets.

There will be a walk-a-thon an hour before the parade in which people can walk a mile along the route in a preamble to the main event.

The theme for this year's parade is "New Beginning for Advancement."

Andrew Ahn, editor of the Korea Times, which sponsors many of the festival programs, said the motto was chosen to mark the completion of 10 festivals in Garden Grove.

The theme also was selected with this year's riots in mind and the need to rebuild in Los Angeles, Ahn said.

When the festival was first held in 1981, there were about 80 Korean businesses in Garden Grove, Ahn said. This year, there are 800 Korean businesses in town, with about 600 of them along a two-mile stretch of Garden Grove Boulevard between Brookhurst Street and Beach Boulevard, he said.

Because of a recession, festivals were canceled in 1982 and 1983, he said.

The festival is sponsored by the Korean Festival Committee and the Korean Chamber of Commerce. Sponsors say they hope that the festival will be a symbol of friendship and diversity and will contribute to harmony, prosperity and cultural understanding between Koreans and other ethnic groups.

Expected to be on hand are Sen. John Seymour (R-Calif.), members of the Garden Grove City Council and County Board of Supervisors, and other political figures.

Se Kwon Han, mayor of Garden Grove's sister city, Anyang, South Korea, will be present. So will Ha Young Yu, the reigning Miss Korea.

Festival officials said Gov. Wilson has committed to be grand marshal. But a spokeswoman in the governor's press office said only that Wilson will be in attendance and she didn't know if, in fact, he would be the grand marshal.

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