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[Weekender] Community festivals bring autumn to life

From concerts on forest trail to photo zones on silvergrass field, Seoul's neighborhoods come alive with autumn celebrations

By Lee Jung-joo

Published : Oct. 14, 2023 - 16:01

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Step into the crisp autumn air, as a multitude of community festivities in Seoul are poised to breathe life into the foliage season this month.

Taking place from Oct. 13-22, visitors can enjoy the fall scenery and weather through a walk in the park and a gala concert.

Alternatively, immerse yourself and learn more about Korean culture by taking part in evening events or visiting the Bukchon Hanok Village.

Here is a list of some of the fall festivities set to take place in Seoul.

Gyeongchun Line Forest Trail in Nowon-gu, northern Seoul (Seoul Metropolitan Government) Gyeongchun Line Forest Trail in Nowon-gu, northern Seoul (Seoul Metropolitan Government)

Gyeongchun Line Forest Trail Musical Gala Concert

Seoul Metropolitan Government will host a gala concert featuring songs from popular musicals at the plaza near Gyeongchun Line Forest Trail’s visitor center on Oct. 15, free of charge.

The Gyeongchun Line Forest Trail is a 6-kilometer walking path and park in Nowon-gu, northern Seoul, along the route of a disused railway.

The gala concerts will be held at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. for 40 minutes each, with performances by musical actors YoullB, Jang Sun-mi, Shin Hyun-ji, Yoo Ki-ho and Kang Jung-goo.

Songs will be taken from shows including “Mamma Mia!,” “Rent” and “The Greatest Showman.”

Next to the gala concert, visitors will also be able to enjoy various experiences such as getting henna tattoos and playing games like ring toss and darts.

For more information, visit parks.seoul.go.kr.

Seoul Silvergrass Festival at Haneul Park in Mapo-gu, western Seoul (Seoul Metropolitan Festival) Seoul Silvergrass Festival at Haneul Park in Mapo-gu, western Seoul (Seoul Metropolitan Festival)

Seoul Silvergrass Festival

The annual Seoul Silvergrass Festival, hosted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, will return for the 22nd year on Oct. 14 until Oct. 20 at Haneul Park in Mapo-gu, western Seoul

Haneul Park, created on top of a landfill that held over 92 million tons of garbage, was opened to the public in 2002. Since then, the park has hosted the Seoul Silvergrass Festival when the silvergrass is at its peak.

Under the theme of “October’s Love Letter with Silvergrass,” the Seoul municipal government plans to provide performances and experiences in the park during the event.

Festival visitors can take photos by the silvergrass field at the 17 photo zones installed throughout the park. Visitors can also enjoy views of Yeouido, Namsan Seoul Tower and Bukhansan from the park’s observation deck.

While Haneul Park normally closes at 8 p.m., the park will stay open until 10 p.m. during the festival. A laser show -- “Love Lighting Show” -- will take place every hour for 10 minutes at 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. to cater to those visiting the festival later in the day.

Up to 24 live performances will be held throughout the festival, featuring strings trio Phoenice and mime artist Cotton Candy Man. The performances will take place from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays. Experience programs such as making silvergrass bouquets, forsythia bracelets and wooden brooches are also scheduled throughout the seven days, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information, visit parks.seoul.go.kr.

Poster for 2023 Seodaemun Culture Nightroad, taking place from Oct. 14 to 15 at Seodaemun-gu, western Seoul (Seodaemun-gu Office) Poster for 2023 Seodaemun Culture Nightroad, taking place from Oct. 14 to 15 at Seodaemun-gu, western Seoul (Seodaemun-gu Office)

Seodaemun Culture Nightroad

Seodaemun-gu in western Seoul will host the 2023 Seodaemun Culture Nightroad from Oct. 14-15, under the theme “A Spark to Light Up the Night.”

Eight programs are scheduled to take place throughout the two days, including tour programs, concerts, handcraft workshops and exhibitions.

For the two days, two museums in Seodaemun-gu -- Seodaemun Prison History Hall and National Memorial of the Korean Provisional Government -- will be open until 10 p.m. No prior reservations are required to visit the facilities.

Outside of Seodaemun Prison History Hall, artworks drawn by young artists under the theme of “sparks” and “independence” will also be displayed on the museum’s exterior walls.

The Seodaemun Moonlight Concert will also take place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Seodaemun Independence Park’s Independence Hall. The concert will feature performances by the percussion performance group Noldanggapseo, traditional acappella group Torys, indie band Scribbling Alice and fusion gugak bands Yegyul and De O.

Visitors can also take part in 14 different craft workshops, such as making cheongsachorong, a type of traditional Korean lantern, and visit the flea market from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. near the 3.1 Declaration of Independence Monument inside Independence Park.

For more information, visit www.sdmnightroad.com.

Tourists walk around near Bukchon Hanok Village. (123rf) Tourists walk around near Bukchon Hanok Village. (123rf)

Bukchon Day Festival

The annual Bukchon Day Festival, run by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, will run from Oct. 13-22 at Bukchon Hanok Village, under the theme “Revisiting Bukchon.”

Bukchon Hanok Village, a residential neighborhood in Jongno-gu, is a popular tourist destination featuring traditional Korean houses.

Various places around the village will be open to visitors, including the Bukchon Traditional Culture Center, which will welcome professor Anna Yates-Lu from Seoul National University’s department of Korean music. She will give a lecture about Korean culture and its connections to hanok on Oct. 20.

Traditional music and dance performances will take place on Oct. 21, featuring performance group Saero and Remidas and vocalist Shin Yu-jin. Visitors can also take part in a variety of experiences from Oct. 20-22, such as tea therapy, hanok yoga and flower arrangement classes.

For more information, visit hanok.seoul.go.kr.