HWACHEON, Jan. 27 (Korea Bizwire) — The 2020 Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival officially kicked off Monday after being delayed twice due to unseasonably warm weather.
The ice fishing festival was initially scheduled to open on Jan. 4 on a frozen river in Hwacheon, Gangwon Province, 120 kilometers northeast of Seoul, but was postponed after warm weather stoked safety concerns.
Sancheoneo is a species of trout that lives only in clean fresh water.
Officials said the frozen ice was 20 centimeters in thickness. The distance between fishing holes was also widened for safety, they added.
Visitors filled the festival venue from early morning to enjoy the annual winter fishing event.
Ice slides and sleds were also set up for children on the sidelines of the main fishing area.
“My children are having so much fun since there are many other activities to enjoy besides ice fishing. The weather is also perfect, not too cold,” said Hong Young-gi from Incheon, west of Seoul, who was there with his two children.
Some visitors braved the winter chill to enjoy hand fishing in short sleeves and shorts.
A cooking area was also set up so people could cook and eat the fish they caught.
“We thank visitors for waiting despite the event being postponed twice. We will focus on managing a safe festival,” Hwacheon Mayor Choi Moon-soon said.
“We will also strive for visitors to stay longer to contribute to the local economy,” he added.
On the first day alone, around 85,000 people enjoyed the festival. If including foreigners who visited the zone reserved for international visitors that opened earlier this month, the figure stood at 157,427, according to the organizer.
Launched in 2003, the event was chosen as the nation’s best festival by the culture ministry in 2010 and has developed into one of the world’s four major winter festivals.