Getting mud on your clothes used to be a forbidden pleasure, but at the Boryeong Mud Festival it’s not just acceptable – it’s required.
Boryeong in Chungcheongnam-do Province is a moderate, beach-adorned city of just over 100,000 people for most of the year. Come summer, however, millions of tourists flock to the popular Daecheon Beach with just one though in mind: getting muddy. The Boryeong Mud Festival (July 16 to 24) is what allures families, teenagers, couples and friends to the celebration. Last year’s event drew more than 2.6 million people, an increase of over half a million from the previous year. The festival is also known for having the largest number of foreign participants than any other event in the country and provides foreign-language interpretation services.
The regional mud, known for its mineral and nutrient-rich composition, has anti-aging properties and helps treat skin diseases, providing an additional health benefit to festivalgoers. The local government began promoting the area’s natural resource with a skincare and makeup line in 1996. Two years later, the festival was established by the city for marketing purposes, but the event soon took on a life of its own. Today, a diverse range of mud products – from shampoo to BB (blemish balm) cream – can be purchased on site.
Hosted on the idyllic Daecheon Beach, the main component of the festival is actually transported from the nearby mudflats to the sandy shore. Tons of smooth, gray mud is then separated into a variety of activity zones, including mud slides, a wrestling ring, an air bounce and even an obstacle course. Hands-on classes for mud pottery will be held, along with a street parade, hip-hop concerts and other late-night programs. General admission is 5,000 won.