A view of a fireworks event, part of the 2018 Hangang Summer Festival that gets under way at the Han River park area until Aug. 19. (Photos: SMG)
A poster of the 2018 Hangang Summer Festival.
The 2018 Hangang Summer Festival raised the curtain on a 31-day run started July 20, attracting tens of thousands of people wanting to beat the killer heat that has hit the whole of the nation.
The annual festival, to be held until Aug. 19, will offer about 80 diverse programs upgraded to meet Seoulites’ needs. The programs are taking place in three themes – ‘Cool Han River,” “Touching Han River,” and “Sharing Han River” – in the whole of the sprawling Han River park area.
The elderly and children are seen soaking in water in riverside pools to cool off amid the scorching heatwave. Groups and families are also seen clustering together at campsites to enjoy food and cool off into early wee hours.
Music festivals fascinate audiences assembling around stages, and flea markets brighten the summer night hours in a colorful fashion, while queues of people form in front of food trucks offering diverse meals.
Yoon Young-chul, head of the Han River Business Division at the Seoul Metropolitan Government, said, “Happiness the Han River can offer summertime, is delivered wholly to citizens and tourists.”
“(The metropolitan government) will nurture the Hangang Summer Festival into Seoul’s representative fest to the extent anyone around the world could recognize it on hearing its name and whish for coming here,” he added.
Director Yoon Sung-jin of the festival said, “A combined 80 programs will take place evenly at 11 parks around the Han River, enabling families, friends and couples to enjoy the ones they want to see.”
It is a good thing to beat the heat at the center of Seoul, without having to travel far, he added. Park Chan-ho, a resident in Ilsan, north of Seoul, said, “I’m thrilled at this one being held in an urban area, and it, in and of itself, has good access as a summer resort.”
The Han River has been transformed into a water amusement park, where people can enjoy boating and kayaking, and spots under bridges have become popular theaters. Every week has new programs, including the Hangang Water Contest Festival in which people enjoying games with some 200,000 water balloons ad water guns. Most of the programs are offered free of charge.
The Seolaeseom King Canoe Tour Program is gaining good reception from citizens. The program establishes itself as one of representative programs of the 2018 Hangang Summer Festival. It involves sailing a 12-seat canoe to Seolaeseom, an islet on the river and a water taxi ride that ply people around Nodeulseom. The first of its kind canoe tour attracts families, friends and company colleagues.
International tourists in Seoul are given a chance to experience the exciting things the capital has to offer, including the fascinating night views of the river and the fireworks show unfurling over the Banpo Bridge.
The canoe tour is operated from the Saerae Naru (Dock) on six occasions from 10:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. each day. Fees are 19,000 won per adult and 15,000 won per primary school student. Please log on the website of the festival (hangang,seoulgo.kr/projet2018) for advance bookings and inquiries.