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BARRYTOWN, NY - Enjoying five days of sunshine and warm weather, The thirteenth edition of the Blessed Culture and Sports Festival (BCSF) returned to the grounds of the Barrytown Conference Center in upstate New York from August 9-13, 2017 for the eighth straight year.

With nearly a year’s planning and the help of up to as many as 80 volunteers - including 18 core volunteers - the festival was once again an overwhelming success for the 700-plus family, friends and participants who came from as far away as Alaska, the west coast and Canada to take part in numerous events over the nearly week-long program.

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Living up to its reputation that “the only constant is change,” several new events were added to this year’s program to go along with the main events of Ultimate Frisbee, volleyball and basketball, which always have the most participants and attract the largest crowds.

“We have a lot more intramural events this year,” said Jana Iparraguirre, the Cultural Director who, along with Financial Coordinator Eva Clark, was working her seventh year as a volunteer. “We expanded the rock climbing competition and made the wall bigger, we also invited people to bring their skateboards and compete; and, there was a lot more painting and other opportunities for artists to show their skills, like chalk drawing.”

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“We also have ‘miscellaneous friz’ (frisbee) teams. Since we went co-ed with our friz teams most districts now have an A and a B team. So, for those who want to play frisbee but their district doesn’t have enough for two teams we combine districts and form miscellaneous teams.”

Jin Kwon Kim (UTS’10), founder and coordinator of the Festival, spoke about some of the new things added this year, as well as an emphasis on improving and advancing the games and events that are already popular.

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“A lot of people are enhancing things that exist like the video tournament or the rock climbing wall; the KEA (Korean Evangelical Association) has come in force this year and is doing an exhibition game called ‘Jokgu’. We didn’t have a set person for golf so I took it upon myself to make sure that happened. And, if anything else is needed I’ll jump into that as well.”

As far as next year’s planning, the work begins almost immediately, so as not to lose the feeling; discussing what worked at this year’s festival; and what improvements, subtractions or additions will be needed to ensure an exciting, challenging and successful BCSF XIV.

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“We get together as soon as the festival’s over,” said Kim, “that way we still have a lot of fresh ideas. If we wait too long, we lose the inspiration. We’re always talking about different events, and even if we can’t do it this year then next year we should. It’s always great to hear that because it’s a sign that there’s always more potential than what we have so far.”