I originally had this post-dated for late next week, but with commercials airing and with ads already on the sides of buses, I figured I'd push it up. The Gangjin Celadon Festival is coming next month, and is considered one of the top festivals in the area. Gangjin is well-known for its celadon (청자) pottery, with 80% of Korea's celadon treasures being produced here, and indeed masterpieces produced in Gangjin routinely tour the world. I attended the festival in 2006 and enjoyed myself, even though I find pottery boring. There are all the things you typically find at festivals---food and old people music, mostly---though there are lots of pieces of celadon on display, some done by reknowned craftsmen, others done by area students. And last year they had some cool lanterns out.
It's held in Daegu-myeon at the Gangjin Celadon Museum. Buses regularly run there from the terminal in Gangjin-eup. It's the biggest thing to happen in the county all year, so you should have no problem finding where to go if you just follow the hordes of people. If you'd like to spend the night, there are about a dozen love motels in Gangjin-eup, and are, with the exception of a couple high-rises, the tallest buildings in town and thus easy to find.
The festival used to be held in the fall---when I went it was in October---although it's been bumped up to summer in recent years. If the heat isn't too much, I'd recommend seeing some of Gangjin's other sites. Maryang is a pretty little town of a couple hundred on the southern tip of the county. Go, eat some fish, look at the islands, and spend the night at one of the three motels if you'd like. There's also Dasan Chodang, where the scholar Jeong Yak-yong spent 20 years in exile, and nearby Baekryeonsa temple. Or, visit Nammireuksa and see the tallest Buddha statue in South Korea. Please see "Gangjin: Its people and their places" and "Gangjin's temples, part 1" for more information on regional attractions (also because they took me forever to write).
Hell, you might just want to wander around Gangjin-eup---the county seat and the town at which you first arrive---especially if you're a city slicker and have never spent any time in a small Korean town. If the heat isn't too oppressive, take a walk to Yeongryang's Birthplace a couple blocks away, or wander around some of the rice paddies to the south. There's some decent, leisurely hiking on Boeunsan, which abuts the town, and the view of the town from above became one of the things I liked best about living there.
Would you like to see some pictures from the 2006 festival? Well, you have no choice.
More in my flickr set. Looking at these reminded me of another attraction of the festival: the 5K run. My head teacher at the time thought it would be a good idea for me to participate in this. At the time I was a pack-a-day smoker, and although I ran 10 kilometers each night in my junior and senior years of high school, all kinds of shin splints and stress fractures made that impossible by my 25th year. Well, as you've probabably learned by now it's hard to say no to your boss, so I did the race. I ran the whole thing and finished without injuring or embarrassing myself. Funny how these pictures jogged my memory. *cough*