10 Summer Festivals
Summer is officially here and while many hope to sunbathe it up on the numerous beaches of Korea or drink some brews and enjoy the many live music festivals around the country, there are numerous food and cultural festivals to look forward to as well! Check out this nifty list of 10 festivals that may be near, far or in between on the peninsula this summer.
1. Gangneung Danoje Festival (강릉단오제)
June 16 ~ 23, 2015; Gangneung, Gangwon-do
Designated a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2005, this festival aims to preserve the culture of the Joseon Dynasty. Visitors can witness rituals, folk performances and can partake in tug-of-war games and other traditional events. If you’ve wanted to see a traditional wedding ceremony, try some traditional Korean eats, wash your hair in iris water and enjoy other historical and cultural fun, this is the festival for you, not to mention the coastal city of Gangneung is also beautiful and the beach is one of the best.
Website: Danoje Festival
2. Gwangju Toecheon Tomato Festival (퇴촌토마토축제)
June 19 ~ 21, 2015; Toecheon-myeon, Gwangju, Gyeonggi-do
Food based festivals… can it get any better? Picture a townie get together and pride in an agricultural crop that is certainly warranted. Not only can you partake in everything tomato based under the sun with a Korean twist, you can also have a tomato food fight, and who doesn’t want to do that? Celebrating it’s 13th year of tomato madness, Toecheon will be ready and waiting to show you a tomatoey good time.
Website: Tomato Festival
3. Buyeo Seodong Lotus Festival (부여서동연꽃축제)
July 10 ~ 19, 2015; Buyeo, Chungcheongnam-do
If the Lotus Lantern Parade and festival for Buddha’s birthday wasn’t quite enough and you’d like to enjoy some of the natural beauty of the lotus flower, the Buyeo Seodong Lotus Festival will be taking place in July. This festival seeks to preserve the wild flowers and highlight the importance of that preservation. Making paper lotus flowers and lotus flower soap are popular events if you need something more than just the beauty of the flowers themselves. Fireworks, a night parade, cultural ceremonies and performances also add to the fun at this festival.
Website: Buyeo Seodong Lotus Festival
4. Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (부천 국제판타스틱영화제)
July 16 ~ 26, 2015; Bucheon, Gyeonggi-do
If being outside in the summer heat is not what you call fun, never fear, there’s a film festival this summer too. At the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, visitors get to see and enjoy one part animation, one part cartoon, one part game and one part film. Experimental films, international films, horror, sci-fi, thriller, action… there’s something for everyone to enjoy while sitting in the comfort of a nice air-conditioned theater this hot hot summer.
Website: Fantastic Film Festival
5. Boryeong Mud Festival (보령머드축제)
July 17 ~ 26, 2015; Daecheon Beach, Boryeong, Chungcheongnam-do
The Boryeong Mud Festival really needs no introduction. It is one of the most popular fests with foreign and Korean crowd. Though the fest started due to the professed benefits of slathering it all over your skin and soaking in the muddy goodness, now mud wrestling, sliding and slinging are what it’s all about. Here’s the best reason to get down and dirty this summer and do it on a beach where it’s easy to wash off too.
Website: Mud Festival
6. Taebaek Sunflower Festival (태백 해바라기축제)
July 24 ~ August 16, 2015; Taebaek, Gangwon-do
Tall sunflowers weighing down their stalks as they look up to soak in the sunshine are a summer scene no one can complain about. The yellow petals will brighten anyone’s day. Taebaek has the largest sunflower field in Korea with 5 kilometers of the bloomers. Korean and international artists exhibit works along with a petting zoo, concerts, campfires and even nature films and documentaries will keep visitors busy along with hikes into the nearby forests.
Website: Sunflower Festival
7. Pohang International Fireworks Festival (포항 국제불빛축제)
July 30 ~ August 2, 2015; Yeongildae Beach, Pohang, Gyeongsangbuk-do
Known as the “City of Light and Fire”, a fireworks festival sure brings both of those things together in a beautiful way. With a fireworks parade, a fireworks competition and a music fireworks show every day to kick things off, all of the other parts of the fest including a street parade and loads of hands on activities mean this fest is a must enjoy! While the fireworks fun kicks off every evening, Pohang offers beautiful beaches to enjoy during the day so the it would be a great place to enjoy a weekend away this summer!
Website: Pohang Fireworks Festival
8. Busan Sea Festival (부산 바다축제)
August 1 ~ 8, 2015; Busan
The 20th Busan Sea Festival will take over the port city down south the first week of August and it’s sure to provide anything your heart could desire to do. This festival actually encompasses the Busan International Rock Festival, the Busan International Dane Festival, the Korean Sea Literature Festival and about 30 other small festivals that happen all at once. There’s literally something for everyone with art, sports, music, performances and more.
Website: Sea Festival
9. Yeongdong Grape Festival (영동 포도축제)
August 27 ~ 30, 2015; Yeongdong, Chungcheongbuk-do
Summer wouldn’t be the same without heading into the bushes of berries or in this case grapes, to pick them and eat them under the shade of nearby trees. The Yeongdong Grape Festival goes above and beyond that though. Not only can you pick your own grapes from the vineyard, you can eat the different grapey foodie goodness, drink the wine the grapes are made into, enjoy chocolate dipped grapes and more. There’s plenty to enjoy at this festival that comes just in time at the end of the summer.
Website: Grape Festival
10. Muju Firefly Festival (무주 반딧불축제)
August 29 ~ September 6, 2015; Muju, Jeollabuk-do
Wrap up the summer saying goodbye to those little fireflies that you chased the hot season away with as a child. In 2014, more than 72 million people made it to this festival and it has become the second most popular fest in the country. Other than the lightning bugs, expect to enjoy traditional performances, music performances, sporting events and more among the natural settings that the fireflies prosper in.
Website: Firefly Festival
Where are you heading this summer?
*Photos in this post provided by the sites linked to.