Long-awaited winter festivals are arriving, with even some having already come, to help those who never think about going outside into the sweeping cold engage in and enjoy outdoor activities.
They range from catching fish in icy water to viewing impressive ice sculptures to sledding to of course eating a variety of food coming from each region.
Below are recommended winter festivals that have emerged as the nation’s leading ones.
Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival
The Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival, scheduled to kick off on Saturday and run until Jan. 27, is regarded around the world as one of Korea’s most famous seasonal festivals, if not the most. Sancheoneo is mountain trout in Korean.
[1+1 EVENT] 2019 Hwacheon Sancheoneo(Trout) Ice Festival
Launched in 2003, the fish festival has attracted more than 1.5 million visitors annually, including 110,000 foreigners, to the remote mountainous county in Gangwon Province that is a few kilometers south of the border with North Korea. It was even selected as one of the seven Winter Wonders of the World by CNN.
The festival offers diverse programs for visitors as evidenced by five types of fishing ― ice fishing, lure fishing, floating dock fishing, night fishing and bare hand fishing. The bare hand fishing is the most popular program that has greatly contributed to the event becoming globally known.
The freshly caught fish can be served fresh on the spot, grilled or raw.
For those who do not fish, the organizer is also set to offer dozens of outdoor activities on snow or ice including figure skating, snow sleigh, bobsleigh and ice football, while a number of cultural events will be ready.
Plus, in order to improve the regional economy, the county office, seeking to get more than 200,000 visitors who stay longer than a day, plans to offer a variety of night programs, including the opening of a fully illuminated Seondeung Street, ice and snow sculpture squares, and night fishing on the stream.
PyeongChang Trout Festival
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PyeongChang is the first region to farm trout in Korea, so its products are famous for its springy meat and high-quality taste.
Behind the history, the annual PyeongChang Trout Festival launched its 12th edition on Dec. 22 that will run through Jan. 27 in Jinbu, PyeongChang County.
Although it got off to a “disgraceful” start, labeled as a copycat of the Hwacheon event, it has now stood in tandem with it, considered one of the top two winter festivals in the nation thanks to the annual number of visitors at over 600,000.
The festival has three fishing programs ― ice fishing, tent fishing and bare hand fishing. Any trout that are caught can be either grilled or served in raw slices at the venue.
In addition, it is running its playground, where visitors can also enjoy a variety of winter leisure sports, including snow rafting, snow tubing and sledding. Plus, riding ATVs may intrigue visitors, as well.
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Mount Taebaek Snow Festival
The Mount Taebaek Snow Festival is a rare species among the major Korean winter festivals, most of which are heavily dependent on releasing tons of fish in streams and letting people catch them from holes drilled into the ice.
However, it has proved that a winter event can survive without fish, drawing 1.04 million people last year.
The 26th edition is scheduled to take place on Jan. 18 through Feb. 3 and various events will be held in the highlands of Mount Taebaek, 800 meters above sea level, as well as Hwangji Lake and Taebaek City of Gangwon Province.
The highlight of the festival will be eye-catching snow sculptures produced under various themes, helping visitors feel as if they were in Sapporo in Japan or Harbin in China, both of which are famous for snow and ice.
In addition, the festival will also feature snowball fights, snow rafting, concerts and a fireworks show. More than anything else, its admission is completely free.
Source: The Korea Times