Jinhae ‘Gunhangje’ to become global festival

Annual cherry blossom festival opens April 1 for 10-day run

Changwon City plans to renovate the Jinhae “Gunhangje,” called the highlight of cherry blossom festivals in the southern part of the country, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its founding.

Under the slogan of “Gunhangje — 50 Years of Past and 50 Years of Future,” the festival will be held in Jinhae-gu from April 1 to April 10.

To make Gunhangje a world-class festival, the city invited officials of 22 tourism agencies in five countries, such as China, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan, to attend the 10-day event. The city held a briefing session on the festival, offered a pam tour and signed a memorandum of understanding on promotion of tourism with them. This year’s event is expected to attract about 20,000 foreign tourists, city officials said.

A procession makes its way down the street during the 2011 Jinhae “Gunhangje.” This year’s cherry blossom festival will be held under the slogan of “Gunhangje — 50 Years of Past and 50 Years of Future.”

Gunhangje has been selected as one of special events of the 2012 Visit Korea Year, part of this year’s Cherry Blossom Hallyu (Korean Wave) Project. The city held counseling on ways of attracting more foreign tourists with the (Re) Visit Korea Year Committee and the Korea Tourism Organization.

The program of this year’s Gunhangje features a variety of events for foreign visitors as well as Koreans. They include Hallyu Experience Program, Experience Korea’s Well-being Food, Hallyu Stars’ Concert, Jinhae Multi-media Fireworks and Lighting Festival at Yeojwa-cheon Stream.

Timed with Gunhangje, the city will also hold the 2012 Jinhae Military Band and Honor Guard Festival in Jinhae-gu from April 6 to April 10. About 600 players of 14 teams, including the ROK Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and the Eighth U.S. Army, will take part in the festival.

2012 Jinhae Military Band and Honor Gard Festival

An official in charge of planning of Gunhangje said, “Almost every Korean knows about Gunhangje, but those in foreign countries do not know much about the festival. So we plan to invite foreigners to attend this year’s event. We expect the festival to make another leap with peoples in the world on the occasion of its 50th birthday.”

♦ Highlights of Gunhangje

◊ Celebrations and Hallyu Stars’ Concert, on the eve of the opening of the festival, Jungwon Rotary Plaza

 ◊ 2012 Jinhae Multi-media Marine Fireworks, 8:30 p.m. on April 1, JInhae-ru Pavilion

◊ Yeojwa-cheon Lighting Festival, April 1-10

◊  2012 Jinhae Military Band and Honor Guard Festival, April 6-10, Jinhae Public Stadium  (The opening ceremony will begin 7 p.m. on April 6.)

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