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An Evening of Experience at the Cheonan World Dance Festival
Sep 13, 2018

Hello, this is Choenan social reporter, Sheariah.

Cheonan: a city full of life, culture, and vibrance. Although the collectiveness of these features can be witnessed on any given day, there is one prominent experience that brings them together: the Cheonan World Dance Festival. In Korean, the festival is termed, “Cheonan Heung-Taryeong Festival.” The word “Heung” means “fun” or “excitement,” and indeed, that is exactly what the festival offers and provides to all those attending. Held this year from Wednesday, September 12th through Sunday, September 16th, the festival offers a wide variety of fun and exciting opportunities for families, couples, and grandparents to enjoy the early fall season in Cheonan.

Although you will experience quite the array of vendors and performances, no festival is truly complete without a handsome deliverance in the food category. And when it comes to this particular festival, they certainly deliver. From domestic vendors to international stalls, the options and selections are continuous, diverse in nature, and delicious all around. In order to provide a bit of directional context, the festival is housed on an extensive city park called Cheonan Samgeori Park. The park’s landscape is vast and thus offers the optimal real estate for the numerous culinary booths.

Towards the north end of the park and working your way towards the center stalls, you pass-by several stands offering selections ranging from smoothies and bad-for-your-diet pastries to Turkish meats and colorful ice-cream. Interlaced throughout these stands are unique and detailed vendors offering traditional Korean gift packages of the root ginseng, barbequed-pork flavored jerky, and warm soups.

Once you have successfully navigated yourself, your wallet, and your growling stomach through this all-enticing pit of goodness, you will find yourself in the relative middle of the park. At this point, your senses will be firing crazy indicators to your brain to continue in your travel to the south-end of the park where you will discover the source of the wonderful aroma filling the air. In this area you will see an open expanse dedicated to the art and production of traditional Korean festival food. Since the expanse is, quite literally, expansive, the booths have been arranged in an inverted “U” shape and offer optimal flow near and around the stalls. In this area you will not be disappointed, for the selections offer quite the curb appeal – most of all for the not-so faint of heart, especially when freshly cut eel makes an appearance.

If eel does not tickle your fancy, you can always select from fried ginseng – yes, that is actually a thing – Koran pancakes laced with green onions, shrimp, and squid or perhaps a raw friend or two. Most importantly, however, you can find most vendors offering a cold beverage – from carbonated liquids to their stronger pals of beer and rice wine – to help combat all the wonderful steamy heat caused from the cookeries galore. They also offer a decent amount of meat specialties, so if you are in the mood for a nice open-pit roast, have no fear, for your wish will be granted.

At this point, you are probably thinking “with all this wonderfulness on display, and my diet definitely flying-out the window, how will I ever pick just one location to indulge myself?” But have no fear because there is, indeed, an answer: why pick one when you can – and should – try a bit of everything? True, stomachaches are a thing, I’ll grant you that, but when it comes to the food booths and stalls around the park, try a bit of everything. Pick items that might be familiar and balance those out with others that are less than. Push yourself to try something new, something different, something worthy of social media sharing and hashtagging because believe me, when the likes, views, and comments start rolling-in, you will be thanking me.

Apart from the food – wait, there are things worth mentioning apart from food? *gasp* – the festival, again does not disappoint when it comes to entertaining displays. Since this is a dance festival after all, there are various stages throughout the park that offer live performances of shows worth viewing, especially when the older generation puts us to shame with their slick dance moves.

There are also beautiful stalls full of handmade jewelry, intricate handbags, shirts, and trinkets, one particularly charming modern hanbok retailer, homemade goods, pots, and oils, interactive safety experiences, tourings of RVs, and inner-child wish granting balloon stands (and by wish-granting I mean having the ability to walk around with a super awesome light-up neon plastic balloon that is, quite possibly, the best thing ever).

As you can tell, whether you are enjoying a cold one or chowing-down on some eel and fried ginseng while parading around your top-of-the-line neon plastic balloon, you will find yourself surrounded by friends, families, and strangers all having a great time while taking-in the shows and enjoying an evening in Cheonan Samgeori Park at the Choenan Heung-Taryeong Festival of 2018.

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