Mokpo's annual Yudalsan Flower Festival (유달산꽃축제) will take place this year from Friday, April 2nd through 4th on and around Yudalsan, the 228-meter-high mountain on the west side of town. You'll find a program of scheduled performances and events here, in Korean. I went in 2008, but didn't notice much except the view from atop the mountain, and an upsetting animal show. Southeast of the mountain you'll find a lot of what inspired Robert Koehler to call Mokpo "an outdoor museum of colonial Korea," including a cafe called "House Full of Happiness" (행복이 가득한 집) you ought to visit (map here, in Korean). A short taxi ride to the east, or a long walk, you'll come to "Museum Road" and later to Peace Park (평화광장), which stretches along Yeongsan Lake. You can see these attractions on a large tourist map provided by the Mokpo city page.
In Yeongam county, from the 3rd through the 6th, is the Wangin Culture Festival (영암왕인문화축제), with the tagline this year
A Trip Full of Energy!
To Yeongam of Wangin,
a World of Cherry Blossoms.
Wangin (왕인) is the Korean name for a man better known as "Wani," believed to have traveled from Korea to Japan in the 6th century to spread Confucianism and culture there. Yeongam county celebrates its connection to Wangin with festivals each spring and fall and with landmarks, though the authenticity of this connection has been disputed. Wikipedia says, under "political exploitations":
Earlier geography books including the Taekriji (1751) never link Wani to Yeongam. The first known record that associates Wani with Yeongam is the Joseon Hwanyeo Seungnam (朝鮮寰輿勝覧; 1922-37) by Yi Byeong-yeon (이병연, 李秉延). It claims that Wani was born in Yeongnam without providing any evidence. It is known that around the same time, a Japanese monk named Aoki Keishō claimed on the basis of "oral tradition" that Yeongam was Wani's homeland. In 1932 he made an appeal to erect a bronze statue of Wani in Yeongam.
A new myth about Wangin was publicized in South Korea in 1970s. In 1972 the social activist Kim Changsu reported a series of essays titled "Korean spirit embodied in Japan," which appealed to South Koreans who felt oppressed by the legacy of Japanese colonization. In this framework, Wani was regarded as Korean without doubt. Upon being informed by a reader from Yeongam, Kim issued a statement identifying Yeongam as the birthplace of Wani in the next year. In spite of the weakness of the evidence, Wani's "relic site" was designated as Cultural Asset No. 20 of South Jeolla Province in 1976.
The development of Wani's "historical sites" was led by the governments of South Jeolla Province and Yeongam Country. The construction was carried out from 1985 to 1987, "restoring" the "birthplace", schools where Wani allegedly studied, and others. Yeongam Country started to fully exploit the old-looking new theme park as a tourist attraction because the introduction of local autonomy of 1990 forced the local government to look for its own source of revenue. For example, Youngam County began to host the annual "Wangin Culture Festival" in 1997 that was previously organized by local people under the name of "Cherry blossom festival".
Links and footnotes removed.
The "energy" refers to the 氣 (기, better known as "chi" in English) associated with the area.
Anyway, you'll find a timetable of scheduled events here, in Korean, and you'll find a trilingual leaflet with very small writing here. The "Korea and Japan Friendship Performance" takes place on Saturday at 1, and the parade replicating his trip to Japan, seen below passing beneath the cherry blossoms, takes place on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday at 2 pm.
Yeongam county is just south of Mokpo, west of my old home in Gangjin, and south of Gwangju. The festival website doesn't have transportation information, so I guess it's top secret. It's spread out over a few sites found just west of Wolchulsan: "The Historical Site of Dr. Wangin" and Gurim Village. Yeongam's official site says buses run that way every twenty minutes. If you check that URL you'll see it says "unpleasant-bus," and after spending several hours looking up stuff about these festivals, I'm pretty much at that point, too.
There's also a festival in Yeosu, on the other side of the province. The Yeongchuisan Azalea Festival (영취산진달래축제) takes place from April 2nd through the 4th, a mountain in northeastern Yeosu.
As the festival website says, there will be shuttle buses between the Intercity Bus Terminal (시외버스터미널) and the festival grounds five times a day. There will also be shuttle buses from Yeocheon Station (여천역) five times a day, buses that will also stop at city hall.
They're also looking to crown a Ms. Azalea (진달래아가씨), but unfortunately you all missed the registration deadline.
And, like I posted last week, the Gwangju Spring Flower Expo (광주봄꽃박람회) runs through the 4th. Gwangju's local yodelling club will perform on Saturday and Sunday.