Kang Shin-woo of the Korea Times is a little ambiguous here, as the headlines says "Boryeong Shrugs Off Mud Contamination," though the first paragraph says it's the "Thousands of holidaymakers" doing the shrugging. The article continues:
The regional health agency has yet to determine the exact cause of the skin inflammations suffered by about 230 children after participating in the pre-events between July 4 and 5.
Research is being conducted on samples of mud, water and other substances, with results expected as early as Tuesday.
``For now, we presume it’s because of some contaminated water coming from Daecheon Stream and an unhygienic environment downtown,’’ a festival organizer told The Korea Times Sunday.
The official insisted the mud itself was safe and the festival was going ahead on Daecheon Beach as scheduled. ``We are using cleaner water and strengthening all sanitary steps so tourists don’t have to worry about it.’’
Interesting to note that the news of the sick schoolchildren from a nearby "mud experience" in Boryeong wasn't reported anywhere in English except on this site, curious because thousands of foreigners attend the festival each year, are heavily represented in photographs and news coverage, and are prominently displayed on most of the promotional material. Last year 83,000 of the 2,266,000 people who attended during the festival's nine days were foreigners, making it, according to several sources, the Korean festival that attracts the most foreign visitors. It's more appropriate to write that festivalgoers "shrugged" rather than "shrugged off," because these concerns about mud safety weren't reprinted in the local English-language media.
The last three posters for the Boryeong Mud Festival, in reverse order.
One site is reporting the following:
Boryeong just south of Seoul, South Korea is the place where hundreds of people complained of itching on their skin and some had to go the hospital the skin discomfort they contracted in the pre-events of 'Boryeong Mud Festival'. According to city administration, some 200 participants contracted some kinds of skin inflammations while they were undergoing mud baths in the pre-Mud Festival events. The mud bath events were held on the embankment of Daecheon Stream in Daecheon-eup, Boryeong City, for two days.
. . .
The events were hosted by Boryeong City, the official host of the 'Boryong Mud Festival'.
The participants including many foreigners reportedly enjoyed mud bath, and mud slides and other mud-related facilities.
They are still being treated with various symptoms coming from dermatitis.
In one case some 50 students of a grade school are complaining of symptoms of dermatitis including itching.
And another site says:
According to the City Administration, around 200 out of 1,500 festival-goers were infected with some kinds of skin inflammations while they were undergoing mud baths in the pre-Mud Festival events.
The participants, including many foreigners, are still being treated with various symptoms coming from dermatitis.
The last line is of course ambiguous, because readers might get the impression that foreigners are among those being treated for dermatitis. Earlier in the article is says hundreds of people were hospitalized after they got sick at the festival, when in fact they developed rashes at another site in the city the week before the mud festival. Neither of those two pages cite any sources, and unless the two writers are based in South Korea, there's no reason to trust what they've compiled on their sites.
The festival will continue through next week, convenient for those kept away this weekend by the mud or the heavy rain. For what it's worth, the Boryeong Mud Festival is considered among the best festivals in the country. Google can tell you more, but for now here's what a Korean Tourism Organization profile has to say:
Out of all of the festivals in Korea, the Boryeong Mud Festival attracts the most international visitors every year. Last year it was recognized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism as one of the best festivals in Korea. This year the festival will run for nine days (July 11th – July 19th) at Boryeong City’s Daecheon Beach in Chungcheongnam-do Province. Boryeong’s mud flats have a high concentration of Germanium and a host of other minerals that are beneficial for the skin. During the festival, many fun activities are organized such as mud slides, mud wrestling, and mud massages, enabling visitors to become covered from head-to-toe in this “healthy” mud. With festivities running day and night, the Boryeong Mud Party is a fun-packed beach party that’s sure to be a highlight of your summer. Every year, the festival is visited by around 80,000 international travelers. Make sure you don’t miss out!
Feel free to post first-hand accounts of your experiences this weekend, or browse the Naver news aggregator to see if your picture has turned up anywhere.