On a wet and overcast April 13, the hamlet island of Udo off the coast of Seongsan, Seogwipo City, kicked off the 4th Udo Sora Festival.
Starting at 11 a.m. with the opening of the event and the tape-cutting ceremony at 12 p.m., this three-day festival, from April 14 to April 15, honors sora (turban shell shellfish), a food that the island has become known for. The village haenyeo (diving women) collect the shellfish from the ocean floor.
Though the weather conditions were not ideal, over 2,000 people attended the festival throughout the day, and as the skies began to clear in the afternoon, and copious amounts of alcohol were consumed, the atmosphere became jovial. And it was not an uncommon sight to see grandparents taking to the stage in Haumokdong Hang to dance and sing to their hearts content.
As a family-oriented festival, most of the events were for all ages with any competition treated with a light heart. At 1 p.m. Sora Car Racing was held giving attendees a chance to try and outmaneuver their competitors with remote control cars through a sora-littered race track.
Due to the weather, the fish catching event at 2 p.m. was canceled.
At 3 p.m. the Sora Olympics was held offering three events; a dance off, two forms of sora stacking, and attempting to gauge 5 kg of sora.
▲ Photo by The Jeju Weekly
Between 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. there was the opening ceremony, performances, a youth festival, and another batch of Sora Olympics.
Even though there was much for entertainment, the festival honoree was not overlooked. Everywhere plates of sora were found in abundance. A plate of four to five sora could be purchased for 10,000 won and based on the frantic state of the cooks working the barbeques, they were in high demand.
Kim Chang Baek, a resident of Udo visiting the festival with his nine-year-old daughter, said that many people from Jeju and the mainland visit this festival and that it is a good way for the island to become known by the rest of the country. He added that it promotes the island’s staple agriculture and fishery products like sora and peanuts.
On April 15 and April 16 the 8th Udo Sarang Olle Walking Festival will run in conjunction with the 4th Udo Sora Festival.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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