Mud festival begins in S. Korea’s Boryeong

The annual Boryeong Mud Festival, one of South Korea's most celebrated summer events, opened Friday at mud flats in the western city on South Korea's west coast, with two days of nighttime mud experiences included.

The 22nd version of the 10-day festival, hosted by the Boryeong municipality and scheduled to run through July 28, is expected to entertain revelers from Korea and abroad with some 60 different programs to be presented on Daecheon Beach in the city in South Chungcheong Province.

Boryeong is famous for its wide mudflats formed along the west coast, with its high-quality mud that is rich in minerals and known to help prevent skin aging. Since 1998, the South Korean city has held the mud festival as part of efforts to promote the natural resources in the region.

The municipal government held a ceremony at the beach's Mud Plaza to launch facilities for mud-related experiences, attended by Boryeong Mayor Kim Dong-il and Park Keum-soon, speaker of the city's assembly, as well as holidaymakers in and out of the country.

During this year's festival carrying the slogan "Go Boryeong, Play Mud," visitors are invited to experience mud sliding, mud wrestling, mud baths and everything muddy in the mud flats, as well as to make mud-based cosmetics and ride on yachts.

The organizers also plan to open the festival's zones for mud sliding and an air bounce at night on next Thursday and Friday, a measure to beat the summer heat and consider students, businesspeople or others who cannot visit the festival during the daytime.

During the two days, the zones will be operated from 1:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. The remaining eight days, they will be open twice a day: 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.

At 6:00 p.m. on the first day of the festival, a group of Boryeong residents will parade through the city's streets to put on a display of the city's four seasons for one hour beginning at 6:30 p.m., with many buskers and musicians expected to stage performances on the car-free streets. The festival will be followed by a concert celebrating the festival one day ahead of its opening ceremony.

During the festival, visitors are encouraged to perform in a flash mob featuring mud, music, dance and swimming, while a shade zone will be in place for them to evade a possible heat wave.

Other programs include an obstacle race in mud, called the Mud Run, that was introduced for the first time last year. In the streets around the beach, where vehicles are not allowed during the festival, there will be a global food zone offering visitors a variety of cuisines.

Along with the various programs, the festival will dazzle visitors with nighttime K-pop concerts with a plethora of different genres. At 8 p.m. on Saturday, when the festival's opening ceremony is held, a concert will feature top-tier singers and entertainers on a stage of the mud plaza, including the singer Insooni. At the end of the opening ceremony, fireworks will be set off to celebrate the festival's return.

Amateur singers are to compete in a singing contest scheduled for 8 p.m. on Sunday, in which invited singers Park Sang-chul and Kim Yong-im will perform. From Monday through Thursday, visitors are invited to take part in the flash mob "Mud Night Mob Scene."

Idol singers and groups will take the stage at the K-pop Super Contest on July 27, followed by a concert the next day for the closing ceremony that includes acts by trot singer Jung Mi-ae, co-ed group Walwari and Norazo, a duo known for their eccentric stages and comical lyrics. Trot is a popular Korean music genre.

The number of visitors to the festival last year reached 1.83 million, including 298,100 people from abroad.

Source: Yonhap news Agency

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