Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Muju Firefly Festival

Since arriving in South Korea, the Harrington's have enjoyed their fair share of festival-going-shenanigans. Being the easy-to-please-folks that they are, they generally leave festival grounds feeling as though the day was well spent, even if a few things were amiss. However, most foreigners have more than a few bouts of disappointment when attending some of Korea's festivals as there is frequently a trend to over-promise and under-deliver. (Daejeonites who've been here a while may recall the great Rock Band and International Beer fiasco!?!)

So, with relatively low expectations for the festivities themselves, yet knowing their ability to enjoy a day trip regardless of the occasion, the Harrington's made their way to the Muju Firefly Festival
Prior to attending the festival on their own, the Harrington's had heard many a foreigner complain that a day/evening spent at the Muju Firefly Festival pathetically didn't result in any Firefly sightings. Fortunately, a lunch time conversation at Samcheon Elementary School revealed that in order to see fireflies, one must purchase a ticket and take a bus out past the festivity grounds, tickets were available for purchase prior to arrival or upon arrival at a tent near the International Food zone. The Harrington's wanted to claim they'd seen fireflies at the festival, so bought their tickets and enjoyed the hours of early afternoon and evening exploring the festival grounds.

Within the festival grounds, it was possible to float on a variety of river contraptions such as rafts and swan boats, to be sprayed by water falling from the bridge or water guns, catch fish with your bare hands, learn of the process to make hemp/thread, taste various grape and blueberry wines from the region and wander the vast and well kept grounds of this ski resort town minus the snow and cold of winter.


As darkness settled, the couple finished up a quick 'dinner' of Turkish Kebab and German Beers with Melissa's co-teacher in the International section of the festival before making their way onto the bus which would take them past the city lights and onto a boardwalk along rice paddies filled with (lifeless) fireflies. And by lifeless, THT doesn't imply or imagine that the fireflies were truly without life, however, the couple had anticipated that the creatures would be more apt to fly and flutter rather than simply pose for the passers-by above. 

Regardless of the lazy little fireflies, the night was comfortable and allowed the couple a rare opportunity to gaze upon the stars while surrounded by the peaks of forested mountains (and people) before they were shuttled back into town where they enjoyed a show of fire slowly dancing it's way across the sky above two men playing hauntingly beautiful traditional instruments from a raft on the river below.

And so, when a festival has been painted in low expectations, it is easy for attendees to leave feeling as though the day was far better than expected and down right enjoyable to say the least!

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