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"Hadong Wild Tea Festival 2013"

Posted on June 1, 2013 at 3:05 AM

This year the 18th Hadong Wild Tea Festival began about 2 weeks later than usual. It ran from May 17~19. The weather for the three festive days ranged from breezy and warm to very warm, and was pleasant. 

Here are some photos of the 18th Hadong Wild Tea Festival.

The set-up was somewhat  similar to last year except that there were fewer musical performances. A few tea artisans were also not represented this year as in years past. There were the familiar green tea based foods available. One could eat everything from nokcha bibimbap to green tea ice cream.

I was offered and drank copious amounts of delicious nokcha and nokcha dong dong ju (동동주). Dong dong ju is a traditional korean unfiltered rice wine, which is similar to makgeolli (막걸리), and has a soup-like milky appearance and tastes sweet. Unlike makgeolli, dong dong ju contains some bits of floating rice (동동)and at the tea festival was laced with green tea to boot.

This year's wild tea festival in general was a scaled back version of years past and was two days shorter than previously held festivals, and I sensed that fewer people attended the tea festival as well. Generally, fewer musicians and fewer artisans to promote tea and tea accessories. For me, at least, there was a general feeling that things could have been promoted better. However, in all fairness, I believe that it was a result of a constrained budget. I was told by a Jirisan National Park employee that Hadong County, which is usually the significant sponsor of the annual tea festival, pulled back the purse strings for this year's wild tea festival.

I suppose that given the limited resources available, the outcome was predictable. It was a good festival, but not a great one, and unfortunately the quality of the annual tea festival leaves one yearning for the better Hadong Wild Tea Festivals of years past.

Live well,

Jirisan Gabriel

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