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Inje Icefish Festival to open Saturday

According to Yonhap News,

INJE, South Korea, Jan. 15 (Yonhap) -- Inje, a mountainous county in the northeastern province of Gangwon, is putting the finishing touches on the 2020 Inje Icefish Festival, set to kick off Saturday for a 10-day run.

The annual ice fishing festival dating back to 1998 will take place in Inje, about 165 kilometers northeast of Seoul, from Jan. 18-27 under the slogan of "20 Years Together, 2020 to be Together."

With the opening of the annual festival just three days away, preparations for its facilities, including a snow and ice playground and a food hall, are more than 90 percent complete, according to festival host Inje Cultural Foundation.

In particular, work on the Icefish Lake, the festival's main venue, has been proceeding smoothly, the foundation said, noting the Korea Meteorological Administration's cold weather forecast for the Inje area up to this weekend has boosted expectations for a successful festival.

The county plans to gradually expand the ice fishing area downstream after the ice thickness at Icefish Lake reaches the safety level of 20 centimeters.

The centerpiece of the festival is catching smelt out of 20-centimeter-wide ice holes. Called "bingeo" in Korean, smelt live in water colder than 10C and are most active between December and February.

Visitors can enjoy various other activities, ranging from tasting bingeo and other local foods to ice sledding, skating and Argo riding. They can also watch drones operated by pilots, and a Snow Village reminiscent of downtown Inje in the 1960s will be set up.

Ice fishing is free, but visitors will need to pay a fee for fishing tool rental and bait, organizers said, adding that additional fees are required for ice fishing in tents, ice sledding, skating and other attractions.

They have modernized indoor playgrounds and other facilities for children and significantly expanded rest areas for young and elderly visitors.

The festival was first held in 1998 and this year marks its 20th event.

"In celebration of the opening of the 20th festival, its 20-year history is the main theme in various events. Thanks to the latest cold spell that began early this week, festival preparations are proceeding smoothly," said a foundation official.

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Source: Yonhap News (Jan. 16, 2020)