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[Interview] GICF celebrates one year of charity and community

gwangan international community fair

The Gwangan International Community Fair (GICF) is held at Gorilla Brewing in Gwangalli every two months and just celebrated its first anniversary in June. The fair is a place for people to buy and sell handmade crafts, garden-fresh vegetables and homemade food, as well as custom-made clothing for children and pets. 


Walking around the spacious interior of Gorilla Brewing packed with tables and familiar faces, it's clear that people are enjoying themselves. Whether visitors are shopping for a new bracelet, enjoying a meal or just having a beer with friends, the fair is something that everyone looks forward to. Parents look comfortable and happy. Children are laughing and playing with dogs. 


Six Busan women run the GICF, and even though they call Busan home, they all hail from around the world. Adele Vitale comes from Italy, Sharon Nagy the U.K., Allison Kennedy is from Australia and Clare Blackman, Melanie Burnell and Stacey Fells are Canadian. The GICF promotes a family-oriented atmosphere and welcomes both young children and pets. So, without further ado, let's say hello to the organizers.


Q. How did you get started with the Gwangan International Community Fair?

A. We have been friends with each other for seven years and had thought of the idea to create this family-oriented community through organizing events. We are now raising children, so we wanted to create a space for them and family pets to enjoy themselves in. We also wanted to make a community that is inclusive for everyone. We all have Korean husbands. Most of us have lived in Korea for 10 to 20 years, so we are all Busanites at this point. 


Q. Out of all the areas in Busan, why did you choose Gwangalli for the site of the fair? 

A. Because many people who participate in the GICF live near Gwangalli. Andy, the owner of Gorilla Brewing, is a supporter of the GICF and provides us with the brewery for free, and it's a large enough space for the event. He also loves Busan ... and beer!


Q. What are some positives and negatives of living in Busan? You've certainly lived in the city for a long time! 

A. There are no negatives! Busan is really our home. I would live in other cities, but I really like Busan's relaxed atmosphere. The city is not too crowded and has everything needed for living and a wonderful natural environment. 


Q. How do you use the profits from the GICF?

A. We donate to three charities돟 the Busan Lifeline, the Korea Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM) and Save the Children Korea. 


Q. What's next for the GICF? 

A. Well, this was the eighth edition of the fair and so far, we have no plans to stop. It's a bimonthly event, usually held on the second Sunday of the month, but we also plan to continue having specials like our very successful Christmas fair last year. We really want the feeling of family and community to grow. Of course, our ultimate goal is charity, and we hope that what we raise will contribute to society.