Ice fishing festival to start in Hwacheon Saturday

HWACHEON, South Korea– A world-renowned ice fishing festival is to kick off in the Gangwon Province county of Hwacheon, northeast of Seoul, on Saturday, after a two-year pause due to COVID-19.

The 2023 Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival will continue for 23 days through Jan. 29 in Hwacheon, a remote mountain town close to the inter-Korean border and about 120 kilometers northeast of Seoul, its organizers said Friday.

It will be the first event to be held normally after three years. The 2020 festival did not take place completely due to unseasonably warm weather, while the 2021 and 2022 editions were canceled due to the pandemic.
The annual winter festival has previously made headlines worldwide, with thousands of tourists trying to catch “sancheoneo,” a species of mountain trout, through holes cut into the surface of a vast frozen river and taking part in bare-hand fishing, sledding, ice soccer and other events.

Organizers said they plan to release 171 tons of sancheoneo into the frozen river covering 61,054 square meters during this year’s festival. Sancheoneo is a species of trout known to live only in very clean fresh water.

The tourists will also be given chances to taste grilled sancheoneo at a nearby cooking zone.

The organizers will also operate foreigner-only fishing, resting and cooking areas, and a prayer room for Muslims.

In particular, they will make all-out efforts to ensure the safety of Korean and foreign visitors against COVID-19. Divers will also check the freezing conditions of the venue river, such as the thickness of the ice, every day to decide the number of festival participants.

Launched in 2003, the event was chosen as the nation’s best festival by the culture ministry in 2010 and had drawn more than 1 million visitors for 13 straight years from 2006 to 2019.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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