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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2014 Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival kicked off

The 2014 Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival kicked off on last Saturday.

The festival is held Jan. 4-26 throughout the town of Hwacheon, Gangwon Province, under the slogan "Unfrozen Hearts, Unforgettable Memories," offering some 60 different programs.

Hwacheon ice festival
Tickets for the festival's main program, ice fishing, 
are nearly sold out on weekends, possibly drawing over 1 million visitors.

Organizers say nearby lodgings are almost fully booked for the weekends during the festival period.

The opening ceremony was held at 6 p.m. with county governor Chung Gap-chul and novelist Lee Oi-soo attending, celebrated with Arirang performance and fireworks.

Attendants at the opening ceremony each received a red muffler as a gift.

To dispel claims that the local fish are not purebred, the organizers are hosting an international symposium on Jan. 7 on nurturing the breed.

On Jan. 11, there will be a symposium on ways to develop cultural and tourism festival as well as an ice sledding contest.

On Jan. 16-18, the festival will host a meeting of mayors of world's leading winter cities, also attended by a foreign diplomatic corp in South Korea.

A "Day of Angels" is planned on Jan. 21-22 for multicultural families, who will be invited to fishing and other programs free of charge.

The festival will close on Jan. 26 with a ceremony at 6 p.m.

"The 2014 Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival was selected as South Korea's representative event. We made preparations to make it abundant with things to see and ways to experience culture, including a Michelangelo exhibit that will be held for the first time during a local festival, to raise the quality of the event," county mayor Chung said.

The Sancheoneo festival is visited by over 1 million people every year and was named the best local festival for four consecutive years by the culture ministry. It was named South Korea's representative festival for this year and has become one of the four global winter celebratory events along with China's Ice and Snow World, Japan's Sapporo Snow Festival, and Canada's Winter Carnival.
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