JEJU WEEKLY

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Spring brings Jeju islanders togetherA look back at last weekend’s King Cherry Blossom Festival
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승인 2011.04.12  13:24:04
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▲ The island is alight in pink blossoms. All photos by Sarah Warren

As we all know Jeju is unique in many ways, and their festivals are no exception. Only Jeju could have squeezed a small-town feeling into such a large celebration at this year’s King Cherry Blossom Festival.

The festival’s actual kick off wasn’t until 7 p.m. Friday evening, on April 8, with a firework and parade show. However, set up began much earlier in the morning. By noon, a labyrinth of white-peaked tents lined the horizon of the festival grounds, each reading, “I heart Jeju.” This was the first indication that this wasn’t going be any ordinary celebration.

Before walking through the festival’s main entrance, fountains of cherry blossom trees sheltered the sidewalk, spilling over like a canopy of snow.

▲ Yuchae fields are blooming all over the island.

If you entered from the back, where the market area began, you were led through a blanketed maze of canola flowers, complimented by another row of cherry blossom trees along its edges. From all aspects of the festival, your sense of beauty was never disappointed.

As for your other senses, they were not forgotten. A large stage was set up at the front of the grounds. Starting on Saturday, talented musicians, singers, dancers, actors and orchestras from all over Asia painted the stage. Later that evening, it was time for Jeju’s youth to get cozy on the grass to enjoy a free concert filled with hip-hop, K-pop, RnB and rock and roll.
▲ A group of female Korean drum players performing an energetic yet delicate piece.

▲ Korean women stand waiting for their chance to perform a traditional Korean musical performance alongside a large group of traditional musicians.
▲ A Korean drum player sets a beat for the singing troupe.
▲ Drummers from an instrumental band of Korean boys present a lively drum-solo for the crowd.
▲ By nightfall the festival transformed into a free concert, attracting many young popular-music fans.

If you needed a refreshment or something to munch on, the smell of fresh corn on the cob, fish cakes, silk worms, chicken nuggets, pork and Korean pancakes were sure to draw you into the market area. As you moseyed your way through the buzzing myriad of vendors, the festival quickly turned into a carnival, inviting you to try your luck at a card game, do a bit of target practice, or witness some improve, karaoke and storytelling by a man dressed in a clown costume.

▲ Helium-filled balloons were extremely popular for all ages. Nearly every child was trailed by a bobbing head of Hello Kitty or Pikachu.
▲ One of the many sculpture entries for Canny Village’s sculpture contest.

▲ One of the many sculpture entries for Canny Village’s sculpture contest.


▲ A boy looks at the drawings entered in Canny Village’s environmental art contest.

Also, between the market and stage area, people from local businesses and organizations offered information and personal lessons in an abundance of areas, including jewelry making, soap making, Lego building and sculpturing. The Jeju Starlight World, Park and Planetarium’s tent and Canny Village’s tents were among the most popular of them all.

The last day of the festival, was non-coincidentally the beginning of the end of the cherry blossom season. Unlike the day before, white petals were beginning to snow from the branches of the trees, floating along the sidewalks and roads.

Reverberating throughout all of Jeju City, celebrations concluded Sunday evening at 7 p.m. with another firework show.

The festival was located at the Citizen Welfare Town, in Jeju City, from April 8 to 10.
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All materials on this site are protected under the Korean Copyright Law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published without the prior consent of Jeju Weekly.
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