Ambassadors Mohamed Salim Alharthy of Oman, Mohammed El Amine Derragui of Algeria, Gerhard Sabathil of the European Union and Peteris Vaivars of Latvia plus 12 other members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps attended the 19th Boryeong Mud Festival in a two-day tour of the picturesque beach of Boryeong beginning on July 16, 2016.
It was a large summer festival running for 10 to 14 consecutive days and drawing millions of people, including many expatriates in Korea and foreign tourists.
In the first three days by July 17, a total of over 1.3 million have already visited the Festival, of which a great portion was from various countries of the world.
Speaking to the ambassadors and other members of the visiting group of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps on July 17, Mayor Kim Dong-il of the Boryeong City said, “As our distinguished guests must have personally experienced during this tour, the Boryeong Mud Festival has grown into a global premium festive event since it was first launched 19 years ago, which all the people from around the world as well as Koreans enjoy the events to their heart’s content.”
Then he said, “Last year alone, a total of 3.2 million persons visited the Boryeong Mud Festival from all parts of the world and, of the number, over 300 thousand were foreign visitors, which makes the Festival a truly global and cosmopolitan event.
Mayor Kim had a long string of outstanding features to boast of the Boryeong Mud Festival. He said, “The Festival has won the Pinnacle Award for the past seven consecutive years from the International Festivals & Events Association and also the much-coveted Korean festival awards, including the Republic of Korea Festival Contents Award and a Special Award as a global premium festive event.” (See excerpts from his welcome speech for the ambassadors toward the end of this Article.)
It rained on and off during the tour of the Festival by the ambassadors and other senior members of the Diplomatic Corps with their spouses and family members. However, obviously it did not dampen the spirit of the Korean and international visitors from attending the Festival whereas there such a large crowd. It became all the clearer actually at the festival site where no one seemed to mind the scattered showers that came on Saturday and Sunday when the ambassadors and other senior diplomats toured the city with their spouses and family members.
The Boryeong Mud Festival had a good number of very interesting programs which included Mud Super Slide of about 50 meters long, a large man-made mud pool, a ‘mud prison,’ and a 70-meter-long mud slide.
Boryeong is a blessed region widely known for abundance of natural resources, beautiful land, picturesque mountains, clean water and nice people who live longer than in other regions across the country due to the beneficial natural features.
One of the outstanding features of Boryeong is the fine shell powder found on the beaches which is used as an important ingredient of skin-care cosmetic articles.
The visitors to the Boryeong County can have their fill of the high-quality mud for the health of their skin during the mud-bathing events.
The programs of the Festival included Experiencing the Mud on the Beach, Beach Obstacle Marathon Race, Mud Bath, Mud Massaging, Mud Slide-riding and tour of the Mud Kids’ Land.
The first Mud Festival in Boryeong was staged in 1998 and has now grown into a world-famous festival attended by several million people each year.
The mud in Boryeong is known to be rich in minerals and is used to manufacture cosmetics. The Festival was originally conceived as a marketing vehicle for Boryeong mud cosmetics.
Although the Festival takes place for 10 days or longer, it is most famous for its final weekend, which is popular with Korea's western population. The final weekend of the festival usually falls on the second weekend in July.
In 1996 a range of cosmetics was produced using mud from the Boryeong mud flats. The cosmetics were said to be full of minerals, bentonites, and germaniums, all of which were learned to occur naturally in the mud from the area.
In order to promote these cosmetics, the Boryeong Mud Festival was conceived. The Festival was designed to assist the people to learn more about the mud and the cosmetics.
In the process, according to the Boryeong City Government authorities, the Boryeong Mud Festival has become increasingly popular among both Koreans and the tourists, many of them Westerners including members of the United States Armed Forces and United Nations Forces in Korea and other native speakers and teachers of the English language living in Korea.
For the period of the festival, several large attractions are erected in the seafront area of the Daecheon Beach. These include a mud pool, mud slides, mud prison and mud skiing competition sites. Colored mud is also produced for body painting. A large stage is erected on the beach, which is used for live music, competitions and various other visual attractions.
Also, a small market runs along the seafront selling cosmetics made using the mud from Boryeong. Various health and beauty clinics offer massages, acupuncture and other treatments utilizing the medicinal qualities of the mud.
The ambassadors, senior diplomats and their spouses visiting Boryeong City on July 16-17, 2016 were also provided with the mud massaging and other services with the Boryeong mud by experts.
The festival is closed with a large firework display.
Of the numerous festivals in Korea, it is the Boryeong Mud Festival that probably attracts the largest number of international visitors.
During the festival period, tourists flock to the area to experience the beneficial properties of the Boryeong mud, and also to have lots of fun. Fully immersed in both the mud and the festival’s great atmosphere, visitors enjoy mud wrestling, mud sliding and even swimming in the mud mega tub.
Visitors feeling particularly energetic can try the marine mud-training course, while those looking for something more chilled can relax in the mud massage zone.
Throughout the Mud Festival period, many interesting events take place, which include a mud game, mud obstacle marathon race, mud baths and massages, mud slide riding, visiting the Mud Kids Land, Air Force Band performance, World Beauty Mud Festival, Boryeong Citizens Music Concerts, Mud-time Character Performances, Citizens Tower Square Open Concert, traditional rhythm of Korea (Pungmul Nori), Mud Yacht and Mud Parade and Korean Air Force Black Eagles Air Show.
There also are mud-related exhibitions and events. They include the Boryeong Mud Festival Photo Exhibition, Boryeong Specialties and Craft Sales and Exhibition.
Welcome speech by Mayor Kim Dong-il of Boryeong City:
It is a real pleasure that I have this opportunity to welcome the Excellencies, the distinguished members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps, to the Boryeong City. I am Mayor Kim Dong-il of the Boryeong City.
I trust that Your Excellencies and Madams have enjoyed the Boryeong Mud Festival events and visit to major tourist attractions in Boryeong yesterday and today.
I would like to express my profound gratitude to all the Excellencies and Madams who kindly took time out of their busy schedule to grace us with their kind attendance at our Festival.
As our distinguished guests must have personally experienced during this tour, the Boryeong Mud Festival has grown into a global premium festive event since it was first launched 19 years ago, which all the people from around the world as well as Koreans enjoy to their heart’s content.
Last year alone, a total of 3.2 million persons attended the Boryeong Mud Festival from all parts of the world. Of the number, over 300 thousand are foreign visitors, which makes the Festival a truly global event.
The Boryeong Mud Festival has won the Pinnacle Award for the past seven consecutive years from the International Festivals & Events Association and also much-coveted Korean festival awards, including the Republic of Korea Festival Contents Award and a Special Award as a global premium festive event.
In particular, the Boryeong City is broadening the base of the Festival through exchange and cooperation with various countries of the world, especially Spain.
In particular, the city leaders have visited the Rotorua City of New Zealand and concluded a contract with the NZ City authorities for the export of the knowhow of the Boryeong Mud Festival.
Thus, the Boryeong Mud Festival continuously gains its popularity around the world as well as in Korea.
I hope that the Excellencies, Madams and other distinguished guests here will fully enjoy the luncheon as well as exchange of pleasant remarks, and take home a good memory of Boryeong that will remain with you for a long, long time.
As our distinguished guests must have seen while staying here, the entire city of Boreyong is filled with beautiful tourist attractions.
The sea, the islands, the mountains, the valleys and the brooks all offer you a rare haven where you can have your fill of rest and recuperation. Boryeong is ready to welcome you all at any time.
Please visit the Boryeong City again at any time with the people you endear and will welcome you with all our heart.
I wish you all a pleasant trip back home.
Congratulatory speech by Ambassador Mohammed Salim Alharthy of Oman:
Honorable Mayor Kim Dong-il, fellow ambassadors and other distinguished guests, it is a great pleasure to have this opportunity to speak on behalf of the visiting members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps to the Boryeong City, and attend the Boryeong Mud Festival.
We have seen many impressive events during our stay here yesterday and today attending the 19th Boryeong Mud Festival in this beautiful city of Boryeong.
I am sure that the visiting diplomats and their spouses, as well as myself and family, have been deeply impressed with the many outstanding features of the Festival as well as the unreserved hospitality rendered to us by Mayor Kim and other leaders of the Burying City.
We are glad to hear that the Burying Mud Festival this year is conspicuously expanded with more than 60 colorful programs, including 27 experiencing programs such as large mud bath, a mud super slide and other mud flat games.
We hear that with proven efficacies in skin care, beauty treatment and treating diseases, mud is widely used as a substance for cosmetics, soap and drugs. I hope that the knowhow will be shared with many other countries around the world, like our countries, where there is similar mud.
In closing, I would like to express our profound gratitude to the City of Burying, on behalf of all the visiting members of the Diplomatic Corps as well as for myself, for inviting us to this wonderful cultural festival.