I think the Water-fire festival is newly invented and mainly an excuse to party in Sokcho in the off-season. That's not a bad reason, by any means. I'm just pointing out that it isn't the creation of Sokcho's rampant Roman Catholic citizen's to have a pre-Lent party; the main excuse Canadian cities use for winter carnivals.
Actually, I've been away most Januaries, working at one camp or another, so this festival could have been occurring for years.
The mascot scared the heck out of KwandongAlex.
A friendly guy took this picture for us. It would be mean-spirited to complain about his cutting the bear in half; the camera screen was uniformly black until the flash fired so he was just pointing it in the right direction.
The festival continues through the weekend. There were many craft tents for children and the fires, candles, assortment of lights and cold, fresh air are romantic, I guess, but activities for adults seemed scarce. I'm sorry, as I wrote that, I recalled that two Human-powered ferry boats were set up- possibly for racing. I would like to compete in that.
I notice, too late, that Haeundae had it's Polar Bear Swim recently. I entered one year and had a great time but hadn't read anything in later years and thought the whole thing had been cancelled. I want the Sokcho Fire and Ice Festival to include one.
How about this: for New Year's Day or Lunar New Year's Day in 2009, we have a Polar Bear Swim at YangYang Beach, next to Naksansa and Naksan Beach Hotel with it's Hae-su Sauna for recovery afterwards. Depending on responses, I will begin to make plans and try to organize the event.