BORYEONG, July 15 (Korea Bizwire) — This year’s Boryeong Mud Festival, one of the nation’s most celebrated summer events, will scale down in-person programs due to recent spikes in COVID-19 cases, organizers said Thursday.
The 24th annual mud extravaganza is scheduled to be held from July 23 to Aug. 1 on Daecheon Beach in the central city of Boryeong, 190 kilometers south of Seoul.
The organizing committee under the municipal government originally planned to run 11 online and eight offline programs.
But it decided to reduce the in-person programs in line with enhanced social distancing rules, under which events with 100 and more participants are banned.
The new guidelines were imposed this week as the nation reported record-high numbers of new coronavirus infections.
The organizers canceled three events that gather large crowds — a mini marathon on mudflats, an absurd behavior contest and a music concert.
Five other offline programs, including a mud spray shower booth, a self-made mud pack experience and a mud-based cosmetics booth, will take place with strengthened safety measures, the committee said.
“We decided to do so because the recent spread of the highly contagious delta variant has sparked concerns over a large-scale transmission of COVID-19,” Mayor Kim Dong-il said.
“We will enhance measures to prevent infections to ensure safety during the festival.”
Last year, the festival was held fully online due to the pandemic.
Boryeong is famous for its wide mudflats formed along the western coast, with its high-quality mud rich in minerals and known to help prevent skin aging.
Launched in 1998, the mud festival is one of the nation’s most popular events among international visitors. In 2019, the festival attracted about 1.81 million participants, including about 380,000 foreigners, according to the city government.