Located at the foot of 1,430-meter high Mt. Sobaek in southeastern part of Korea, Yecheon County has been preserving clean environment with thick forests throughout the region. Capitalizing on this clean and eco-friendly environment, the Yecheon County government initiated programs of researching and developing industrial insects by establishing an industrial insects research institute in 1998 ahead of other local autonomous governments. Based on research achievements, resources and experiences accumulated for a decade, the County authority hosted the first insect expo in 2007, and the Insect Bio Expo in 2012 when it showcased as many as 330,000 insects of 100 species, such as honey bees, osmia cornifrons, dynastid beetles, dorcus hopeis and protaetia brevitarsis.
Acknowledging achievements and programs, the then Ministry of Knowledge Economy (now integrated into the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy) designated the County as the special zone of insect industry in 2009. Encouraged by the designation, the municipal government has been concentrating efforts on developing and commercializing insects as well as development of eco-friendly agriculture. It also built the ecology institute of insects and a butterfly observation park.
Having grown as the home of insects, the Yecheon County government will hold the World Insect Expo Yecheon 2016 for 17 days from July 30th (Saturday) to August 15th (Monday), 2016 organized by Yecheon Insect Expo Organizing Committee under the theme of ‘Smart Future Together with Insects’. The expo is designed to showcase the mysterious world of insects and vision of insect industry through a large variety of things to see, experience and enjoy at diverse eco-edutainment-oriented programs of exhibitions, festivals and events. The expo facilities will be consisted of six major spaces, including the insect theme hall, insect experiencing hall, insect industry hall, Fabre’s garden, insect ecosystem park and bio-industry exhibition hall.
As the world’s largest insect exposition, programs and events of the World Insect Expo Yecheon 2016 will include special exhibition of edible insects, rare insects and endangered insects, insect cooking contests, insect food cooking show, experience of insect foods, children’s cartoon contest with live drawing show of Kim Pung, a popular webtoonist, eco-friendly painting contest of children, and operation of insect-featuring 3D video show, using these facilities. Symposiums on insects and insect industry will also take place during the Expo.
The insect theme hall will provide visitors with a chance of reevaluating inherent value and features of insects, and exploring future life by presenting potentiality of insect industry. It will introduce the interesting world of waterside insects that fiercely struggle for existence, forest insects that build environment, and smart insects in cities. It will also deliver necessity of the insect industry that emerges as an alternative for preventing destruction of environment and shortage of resources by highlighting insects that help man and keep ecosystemic relations with mankind. At the same time, the hall will display value of insects as sustainable future alternative resources, and world situation and vision of edible insect industry and insect-driven eco-friendly agriculture, as well as future technologies that leverage capabilities of super insects, such as biotechnology, green technology and robot technology.
In other halls, including insect experiencing hall, insect industry hall, Fabre’s garden, insect ecosystem park and bio-industry exhibition hall, they arouse interest in insects, showcase performance and technologies related with insect industry, provide information on inherent features of insects, and publicize that creative agriculture is a vital industry and future growth engine through symposiums and workshops. Among programs and events, particularly noteworthy ones are the first and premium insect food contest, insect food cooking and talk show taken part by prominent chefs from Korea, Japan and Bulgaria, and international symposium on insect bioindustry.
As the venue of the World Insect Expo Yecheon 2016, Yecheon County has a number of tourist attractions, including the Yongmun-sa, a Buddhist temple with history of over 1,100 years, a 600-year old pine tree named Seoksongryeong, and Geumdangsil Traditional Village. The Yongmun-sa Temple has several national treasures including the Daejangjeon, the oldest wooden building in Korea, and Mokbuljwasang, a wooden Buddhist statue. The old pine tree, Seoksongryeong, is unique in that it pays tax to the municipal government as the owner of a large area of land. The Geumdangsil Traditional Village is preserving many traditional Korean houses and shrines of ancient aristocrats including a 99-roomed house of Lee Yuin, a high-level government official in the Joseon Dynasty. Most of these ancient buildings are designated as cultural assets. Another cultural asset in the Village is a dolmen of the Bronze Age.