One of Jeju’s colorful flower festivals is about to start.
From March 1 to 11, the 6th Hueree Apricot Flower Festival will be held in Hueree, an Eco-park in Seogwipo City. With its 12,000 apricot trees on 80,000 pyeong (26.4 ha), throughout the year Hueree offers Jeju culture programs like mandarin orange picking and carrying a heobeok (a Jeju traditional water jar). Feeding rabbits, pigs, and goats is another popular activity.
But perhaps the most popular attraction is the park’s apricot trees. Yang Ji Seon, Hueree’s CEO, spent seven years cultivating the trees before opening the park on May 5, 2007.
In an interview with The Weekly, Yang said that he organized this festival in the spirit of announcing the arrival of spring to Jeju. He explained that on Jeju, apricot flowers bloom 15 to 20 days earlier than on the Korean peninsula. So a Jeju apricot flower festival would be the first one of the year throughout the nation.
This year’s festival will include a photo contest where visitors take pictures with apricot flowers and upload them on the Hueree Web site ( www.hueree.com), a black pig show where pigs run through the apricot trees, an apricot flower photo exhibition, and others.
Yang singled out some of the more popular programs like pony rides for children and sampling bingtteok (a Jeju traditional buckwheat pancake) with apricot flower tea.
Yang said more people are coming to the festival every year. In 2010, the park welcomed 20,000 people during the festival and he expects 35,000 visitors this year.
“As the quality of travel is improving, people tend to use travel as a kind of relaxation,” Yang said. “If you [come to the festival to] look at the flowers and take a walk in March when it is warm, the festival will offer you a place to relax.”
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