When the cherry-blossom girl meets the marching-band boy
The 51th Jinhae Gunhangje(진해군항제), Korea’s largest cherry blossom festival, kicks off its 10-day event on April 1 in and around Jinhae-gu area under the theme of “Encounter between cherry blossom and military music.”
The history of the festival dates back to April 13, 1952, when people put up a statue of the revered 16th-century Admiral Yi Sun-shin(이순신) and held a ritual to commemorate him. At first, the ceremony was relatively small in size and was held only at the Bukwon(북원) junction where the statue sits. However, year after year it has grown into a nationwide spring festival with various events. The feast, selected as the best South Gyeongsang(경상) province festival for 2013, will be carefully organized in a budget-minded manner given the current economic slump the nation faces. It will specialize Yeojwacheon(여좌천) festival of light and Jinhaeru(진해루) Multimedia fireworks, which gained great popularity among tourists last year. Various art and cultural events will also be prepared around Jungwon(중원) junction and Changwon community center to draw active participation from citizens.
The Jinhae World Military Band Festival that adds a musical flavor to the whole festival, threw a concert last year. But this year it plans to tell a different story. Over 700 participants from 13 teams including the army, the navy, the air force, the Marine Corps and the Eighth US Army will march together in a parade to the tune of music, creating what spectacles to see for tourists. The three-day military music festival starts on April 6.
As this year’s Jinhae Gunhangje slogan “When the cherry-blossom girl meets the marching-band boy” shows, the festival will combine the two pillars of Gunhangje cherry blossom festival and the World Military Band Festival. Main events including K-pop start concert, Jinhaeru(진해루) multimedia fireworks, Yeojwacheon(여좌천) festival of light, illumination of Jinhae(진해) pagoda of Mount Jehwang(제황) and night view of Anmin hill(안민 고개) will present visitors with unforgettable experience.
Following last year’s huge success, Yeojwacheon(여좌천) festival of light extends its range from 400 meters last year to 1 kilometer this year. Changwon Marine Solar Park, with an observation tower overlooking the Southern Sea and as far as Busan Newport and Geogadaegyo(거가대교) bridge, will be open temporarily during the period.
The opening ceremony will be staged on March 31, 6 p.m. at Jungweon(중원) junction. The commemoration ceremony for Admiral Yi Sun-shin is scheduled on April 6, between 2-5 p.m.at the special stage in Bukwon(북원) junction and downtown area. The grand ritual ceremony is on April 7, 2 p.m., at the special stage in Bukwon(북원) junction. The Military Music Festival is to be held between April 6-8, at the Jinhae municipal stadium(진해공설운동장). Jinhaeru(진해루) multimedia fireworks is slated for April 5, 8 p.m., over the waters near Jinhaeru(진해루). Yeojwacheon(여좌천) festival of light from April 1-10 starts from 6 p.m. until midnight, at the vicinity of Yeojwacheon(여좌천). Cherry blossoms street culture festival in Changwon and cherry blossoms silver festival in Seowongok(서원곡), Masan(마산), are slated for April 6 and 7, respectively.