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Hwacheon Sancheoneo festival upcoming

All Headlines 17:05 January 11, 2017

HWACHEON, South Korea, Jan. 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's leading winter event "Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival" will kick off its 23-day run later this week in Hwacheon, 118 kilometers east of Seoul, with the largest amount of foreign tourists expected to join, an official on the event's organizing committee said Wednesday.

"The annual festival, the 14th this year, will run from Jan. 14-Feb. 4,"the official said, adding that the event is a joint project between the county and its 27,000 residents who are eager to activate the regional economy.

An aerial view of the 2016 Hwancheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival in Hwacheon, Gangwon Province. (Yonhap)

Launched in 2003, the event was chosen as the nation's best festival by the culture ministry in 2010 and named one of the world's four major winter festivals.

The number of visitors started with some 200,000 in the first year of the event, but more than 1 million tourists, including some 80,000 foreigners, have enjoyed it annually since 2006. One program that has been one of the best contributors to making the festival a global winter event is the "Catch Sancheoneo (mountain trout) with your Bare Hands."

Notable is the number of reservations by foreign visitors this year, which hit 522 groups with a total of 14,589 people as of Friday, more than double the 7,048 people in 247 groups last year, the official said.

This year, the county bordering North Korea is trying to attract more tourists who will stay longer than a day in efforts to boost its economy. To that end, it will provide a variety of night programs, including the opening of Seondeung Street which is full of beautiful lights, night fishing and figure skating, the official said.

Street parades will also be made on Seondeung Street every Friday and Saturday.

The lights of Seondeung Street during the 2016 Hwancheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival in Hwacheon, Gangwon Province. (Yonhap)

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