Photo: Hoengseong Hanu Festival self-serve restaurant (Credit: Hoengseong-gun County Office)
Autumn is the perfect season for visitors to Korea. Not only is the weather cool and crisp, but there are festivals and events happening all across the nation to make one’s trip even more enjoyable. Most of the festivals held at this time are related to nature and agriculture or everyone’s favorite, food!
Each festival has its own unique points and attractions, but the festival we recommend most to visitors is the Hoengseong Hanu Festival. The representative eating festival of Gangwon-do, the festival encompasses a variety of events large and small, all themed around hanu, Korean beef. Let’s take a sneak-peak at this year’s events to plan the perfect trip!
TIP) Reason for Hoengseong hanu's fame
The Hoengseong area of Gangwon-do has long been known for hanu. It is home to one of the nation's top four cattle markets, providing a direct connection between the consumer and the cattle merchants. In addition, the cattle raised in Hoengseong are fed on a natural diet, earning Hoengseong Hanu the Premium Product seal of approval.
Photo: Hoengseong Hanu Festival opening ceremony (Credit: Hoengseong-gun County Office)
Celebrating the 12th annual Hoengseong Hanu Festival, this year's festival, with the theme of "Three Beef a Day," will be held September 30 through October 4 on the riverbanks of Seomgang River as it flows through Hoengseong. A festival that is a feast for the eyes and the stomach, Hoengseong Hanu Festival offers varied programs to enjoy. Among all the programs, there are three top choices we think will please foreign visitors the most.
Photo: Self-serve restaurant filled with people (left; Credit: Hoengseong-gun County Office) / Hoengseong Hanu (right)
The most popular venue of the festival is none other than the self-serve restaurant! People can be seen lined up to enter throughout the festival period. Visitors to the dining tent can purchase Korean beef directly from the butchers and grill it at the table. To enter the self-serve restaurant, you will have to wait in line, but the wait makes the delicious taste of grilled beef even sweeter. The tender beef will make your mouth happy with each bite!
Photo: Festival-goers plowing a field behind a cow (Credit: Hoengseong-gun County Office)
During the festival, take part in a unique, slow experience by plowing a field with the aid of a cow. The program allows visitors to try their hand at a traditional farming technique used in the past, something most foreigners will not be familiar with. Those who try this experience will learn that plowing the field isn't as easy as it may seem, but it makes for a fun and unique souvenir photo.
Photo: Hanu characters found throughout the festival grounds (Credit: Hoengseong-gun County Office)
Walk around the festival grounds to find all the fun Hanu characters! The first cow visitors spot will definitely be the larger-than-life cow parade balloon, followed by cow mascot suits in both male and female costumes. Continue exploring the festival here and there until you find the comic book hanu, dressed as Wonder Woman and Batman! The Hanu characters make for great accessories to souvenir photos and also turn the festival grounds into a giant treasure hunt.
TIP) New programs at the 2016 Hoengseong Hanu Festival
In general, the Hoengseong Hanu Festival is centered on eating and performances, but this year, a variety of experience programs will be added. Among these, representative programs include "Go-go Dance Hall of Memory" where people can enjoy dancing while wearing a cow mask, and the Stamp Tour, leading one all around the festival grounds collecting stamps from the check-points. Participating in the new programs will make this year's festival an even more special memory of your time in Korea.