An annual winter festival came to an end amid fanfare in this eastern county of Hongcheon on Sunday, organizers said.
More than 500,000 people visited the "Hongcheon River Kkong Kkong Festival," which was held for 17 days from Jan. 2 under the slogan "Catch trout grown with ginseng," according to a provisional tally of the festival's organizing committee.
The number is the largest since the festival first began in 2012. Last year, 410,000 people visited the festival that was held for 24 days, a week longer than this year.
Hongcheon is a rural county located in the mountainous Gangwon Province known for having one of the coldest, snowiest winters in Korea.
Organizers tried to differentiate this year's festival, the third of its kind, from other winter festivals by offering a rare chance to catch trout grown with the use of precious 6-year-old ginseng with bare hands. Ginseng-fed trout are known to be very active and have a firm texture and nutty taste.
The Hongcheon festival also allowed visitors to enjoy other unique winter activities such as ice sledding, snow rafting, kite-flying, ice football and skating as well as fishing trout on the frozen river using only lines and fish hooks.
Another feature of the festival was that it received an environmental impact assessment for the first time as a winter festival.
"The festival was hosted successfully, leading other municipalities offering to use it as a benchmark," said Jeon Myeong-joon, the festival chief. "We thank Hongcheon residents and tourists for their help and will open to the public the fishing place for free of charge for three days as a token of thanks." (Yonhap)