Coquitlam loses Korean fest
A Korean festival held for 11 years in Coquitlam has left the city to return to its roots.
Mike Suk, spokesperson for the Korean Cultural Heritage Festival Society, told The Tri-City News last week that organizers decided to bring the 13th annual celebrations back to Swangard Stadium in Burnaby to draw a bigger crowd.
“Coquitlam is a nice place and the city has been good to us but we want to increase the number of attendees,” he said, adding, “It was a strategic move. It’s been simmering in Coquitlam and we have been there for many, many years.
“This is not out of spite. We need a mix to get a good energy,” Suk said.
The society has doubled its budget to around $150,000 to bring in an estimated 50,000 party-goers to Swangard on Aug. 16, up from 12,000 people at Blue Mountain Park in Coquitlam last year.
And to sweeten the pot, the city of Burnaby awarded the society $15,000 through its Festivals Burnaby grant program, which is funded on gaming revenues.
The society won a $5,000 Spirit of Coquitlam grant — also from gaming proceeds — from the city in 2012 for its festival; however, no municipal cash came through last year.
Eric Kalnins, Coquitlam’s tourism manager, said city staff will be speaking with the Korean officials in an attempt to have the festival back at Coquitlam Town Centre Park, where the Evergreen Line will terminate in the summer of 2016.
“It’s an exciting event,” said Kalnins, noting photos of the Korean fest are featured in Coquitlam’s tourism guide.
In an interview earlier this month with the Burnaby NewsLeader — the sister paper of The Tri-City News, Suk said Burnaby “has been the heart of the Korean-Canadian community for such a long time.”
Suk noted that his father, Peter Suk, who is well-known in the Korean community, has been brought on as chair. His contacts have helped create a world-class lineup, Mike Suk said.
— with files from Wanda Chow of the Burnaby NewsLeader.