Hwacheon Tomato Festival Famtour by Visiting Diplomatic Corps!
Hwacheon Tomato Festival Famtour by Visiting Diplomatic Corps!
  • 신환철 기자
  • 승인 2018.08.05 18:26
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- Hwacheon is being reborn as an all-weather global festival city

Hwacheon, Gangwon Province is being reborn as an all-weather global festival city thanks to tourists rush from both its summer festival boom including its Tomato Festival & JJokebae Festival during summer seasons and from its winter festival fever such as its Sancheono Winter Ice Festival during winter seasons which is recognized as one of 4 global festivals globally.

By the invitation of honorable Governor Choi Moon-soon from Hwacheon County, Gangwon Province, over 70 members from the Seoul Diplomatic Corps including many Ambassadors, senior diplomats & their families toured the 2018 Hwacheon Tomato Festival on Aug. 4th last Sat. including Hwacheon DMZ trip and Paro lake trip.

Honorable Governor Choi Moon-soon from Hwacheon County taking part in a table event with a Thousan people which makes pasts, sponsored by Ottogi.
Honorable Governor Choi Moon-soon from Hwacheon County taking part in a table event with a Thousan people which makes pasts, sponsored by Ottogi. (From left, Governor Choi, Thailand Amb. Singtong Lapisatepun, Egypt Amb. Hazem M. Fahmy, & chairman Sin Geum-cheol from Hwacheon County Council)

Dean H.E. Virgilio Paredes Trapero, Honduras Amb. lightened up the mood, saying: “With the enthusiastic efforts & dedication of Governor Choi Moon-soon as well as dedicated staffs from Hwacheon County to make its Tomato Festival globally like Sancheoneo Ice Festival every Jan. which is recognized as one of the world’s four major winter festivals, we are confident that Hwacheon Tomato Festival would be able to settle down as a real global festival beyond Spain Bunol Tomato Festival where all global families can enjoy by visiting here.” during the luncheon return remarks.

Visiting Diplomatoc Corps. who are attending in "Seek Golden Ring" event".
Visiting Diplomatoc Corps. who are attending in "Seek Golden Ring" event". From left, Egypt Amb. Hazem M. Fahmy, Bangladesh Amb. Abida ISLAM & Israel Amb. Chairm Choshen.

While clapping laudly about such comments, Governor Choi replied that in particular, Hwacheon Tomato Festival is drawing attention as the best experience event during the hot summer season which surpasses Spain’s ‘La Tomatina’. As part of such efforts, Hwacheon County secured tourists reservation over 1,000 peoples from Southeast Asia region by enforcing major tourist agents famtour several times since spring this year and we will strive so that Hwacheon Tomato Festival can play its role to revive regional economy by devoting all our efforts to oversea marketing, Choi said.

Honduras Amb. Virgilio Paredes Trapero enjoying "Seek Golden Ring" event amid a crowd of peoples who seek golden ring.
Honduras Amb. Virgilio Paredes Trapero enjoying "Seek Golden Ring" event amid a crowd of peoples who seek golden ring. (Second from left, second row)

In an pre-interview with the NDNnews(www.ndnnews.co.kr) & Seoulcity magazine before its invitation which invited over 70 diplomats last Sat., Governor Choi introduced that Hwacheon is a beautiful & clean hometown during its four seasons, recommending Chil-sung Observatory, Peace’s Dam, Korean House school, oxygen 100-ri street, wooden culture experience ground, Paro Lake to name just a few for tourists who wish to appreciate four seasons of Hwacheon.

In accordance with such concept, visiting Diplomatic Community dropped by at Chil-Sung Observatory in the morning to see at firsthand how the divided reality of the two Koreas on the peninsula is amid recent reconciliation’s atmosphere since the historic summits between President Moon Jae-in & North Korean leader Kim Jung-eun as well as US President Donald Trump & North Korean leader Kim Jung-eun respectively 4 months ago.

Honorable Governor Choi from Hwacheon County posing with participatns in front of Chil-Sung Observatory.
Honorable Governor Choi(center) from Hwacheon County posing with participatns in front of Chil-Sung Observatory.

Hearing a briefing regarding recent security circumstances that the distance of an observation point between South Korea & North Korea is merely 905m each other, visiting Diplomatic Commuity sincerely prayed permanent peace on the Korean peninsula, adding their visit at Hwacheon DMZ served as an important opportunity to awaken the importance of peace once again.

The luncheon venue which was held at Yecheon Korean restaurant, Hwacheon, served as an another opportunity for Hwacheon County to publicize its annual Sancheono Winter Ice Festival through about 15 minutes moving screen. Introducing that its Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival is one of the 7 winter wonders as well as one of the 4 great winter festivals which was selected by ministry of culture, sports and tourism, Republic of Korea as The best festival in Korea, Governor Choi said he sincerely would like to welcome to 2019 Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival ! which will be held from Jan. 5 until Jan. 27 next year by sending our heartfelt invitations to all Embassies in Korea.
Hwacheon has clean water, beautiful mountains, lakes, and pure hearted people. Spend your winter vacation at Hwacheon, with unfrozen hearts and unforgettable memories, and Sancheoneos interspersed in the sky fully filled with warm hearts of 27,000 Hwachoen citizens, encouraged Hwacheon officials to visit Hwacheon again at winter seasons.

Welcome luncheon held at Yecheon Korean restaurant, Hwacheon.
Welcome luncheon held at Yecheon Korean restaurant, Hwacheon.

In the afternoon, visiting Diplomatic Community attended a table participation event for a Thousand people in which all ambassadors participated for making cool pasta, sponsored by Ottogi.

About their participation impression, Israel Amb. Chaim Choshen expressed it as a wonderful feeling to share it through a table with a Thousand people and Egypt envoy Hazem M. Fahmy also said he sincerely hopes all participatns would be able to bring pleasant memories in Hwacheon.

Honduras envoy Virgilio Paredes Trapero receiving a gift from Hwacheon Governor Choi during the welcome luncheon.
Honduras envoy Virgilio Paredes Trapero receiving a gift from Hwacheon Governor Choi during the welcome luncheon.

The highlight of their visit was absolutely their participation in the event «Seek Golden Ring» for the diplomats which is an event searching for golden ring hidden inside tomatos scattered in the tomato event venue ground while dancing according to disco music rhythm.

<Hwacheon Tomato Festival introduction >

It has already been ten years since the annual Tomato Festival was first held in 2003. The tomato festival that was held in a small town in Spain also began in Sachang-ri, Hwacheon. They said it was started to show the brand value of tomatoes and to increase revenue.

Governor Choi posing with military officers as well as NDNnews staffs after hearing briefing at Chilsung Observatory.
Governor Choi & Thailand Amb. Singtong Lapisatepun (third & fourth from right) posing with military officers as well as NDNnews staffs after hearing briefing at Chilsung Observatory.

Hwaaksan tomatoes of Hwacheon are cultivated in semi-alpine areas (400m-600m above sea level). It is featured by firm fruits, high sugar content, and long freshness. The tomatoes used for the festival are those with lower product value and others gathered for the event for a total of about 50 tons of tomatoes.

The highlight of the event is ‘Find the Golden Ring’ where participants throw the firm tomatoes. Participants have to look for a golden ring while throwing tomatoes and many people open their opens wide to look for the golden ring. After a while a fire truck comes and sprays cool water. In this game of looking for the golden ring on top of what appears to be a red carpet, many people look for the lucky ring to exchange for a real golden ring.

Participatns from Vietnam at Paro lake including Mme. Tran Thi Lan Hinh, spouse of Vietnam Amb.
Participatns from Vietnam at Paro lake including Mme. Tran Thi Lan Hinh(center), spouse of Vietnam Amb.

As this is a festival enjoyed on the streets of downtown Sachang-ri, it doubles the fund for both participants and onlookers. The couple dance game open only to couples gives a prize of three boxes of tomatoes.

The swimming pool for children is also very popular. Children are carefree under the scorching sun of August. Parents looking on to their children having a good time also smile. The festival is still crowded with people enjoying the tomato face pack experience booths, tomato tasting, tomato seedling event.

The tomato festival brings adults, children and foreigners back to their childhood. At first, children hesitate to jump into the tomatoes, but soon find themselves having a good time playing in them. Tomatoes, which are healthy and tasty, are valuable food. But, I guess it’s okay to eat what you can and play with what you can too, right? If that will help the local economy, the Tomato Festival can always be an exciting festival. This was the Tomato Festival for a summer day’s memory of going back into your childhood. <Courtesy: Hwacheon County>

Deputy head mission Mr. Luis Molinas families from the Embassy of Paraguay before Paro lake.
Deputy head mission Mr. Luis Molinas (second from left) families from the Embassy of Paraguay before Paro lake.

Wapping up their tour to Hwacheon Tomato Festival, visiting Diplomatic Community dropped by at Paro Lake.

According to a female tourism interpreter, Paro Lake is an artificial lake that was created due to the construction of a hydro-generator set up at Guman-ri in Gandong-myeon, Hwacheon-gun for the Japanese continental invasion in 1938, and was completed in 1943.
In commemoration of defeating the massive offensive from the Chinese Army during the Korean War, President Rhee Seung-man himself named this the Paro Lake. Prior to the Korean War, it was under the control of North Korea, but after the war it was reclaimed. The generator capacity is 105 thousand kw and it is rich in fish life such as carps and is the most sought-after fishing area for fishers. In 1955, a vacation home was built for President Rhee Seung-man around Paro Lake, and he visited this place frequently to enjoy the beautiful scenery

Return remarks from H.E Virgilio Paredes Trapero, Honduras Amb. to the Republic of Korea at the Luncheon Venue, Hwacheon Gangwon Province on Aug. 4(Sat.)

First of all, on behalf of the visiting Diplomatic Corps. I as Honduras Amb. would like to express our sincere appreciation to Governor Choi Moon-soon from Hwacheon County, Gangwon Province for inviting us to the 2018 Hwacheon Tomato Festival.

Amid recent reconciliation atmosphere between the two Koreas on the peninsula, I was very happy to be able to see at firsthand the divided reality between the two Koreas solely in the world through Chil-sung Observatory including recent security briefing this morning with the visiting Diplomatic Corps.

We understand that Hwacheon County invited us with a view to invigorating tourists from home & abroad and last but not least boosting Hwacheon regional economy. In that regard, we participating ambassadors & diplomats also would like to contribute to such purposes by experiencing many tomato-related events and by visiting Paro lake this afternoon as part of Hwacheon County fam-tour programs.

The Tomato Festival, which started in 2003, is more than 10 years old. The original tomato festival, which started in a small town in Spain Bunol, was adopted by Sangchang-ri of Hwacheon to increase the brand value and profit from its tomatoes.

With the enthusiastic efforts & dedication of Governor Choi Moon-soon as well as dedicated staffs from Hwacheon County to make its Tomato Festival globally like Sancheoneo Ice Festival every Jan. which is recognized as one of the world’s four major winter festivals, we are confident that Hwacheon Tomato Festival would be able to settle down as a real global festival beyond Spain Bunol Tomato Festival where all global families can enjoy by visiting here.

Once again, thank you for Governor Choi & dedicated staffs from Hwacheon County’s warm hospitality and welcome. Thank you.

신환철 기자  seoulcity07@naver.com

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