The 32nd Haeundae Polar Bear Festival will take place from January 5-6, 2019 at Haeundae Beach.
The festival is hosted by Busan Ilbo and supported by Busan Metropolitan City and the Haeundae-gu District Office.
The festival is marking its 32nd anniversary this year, which first began to celebrate the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and was introduced as one of the top 10 unusual winter sports in the world by the BBC in 2010. Starting this year, the festival’s name has been changed to the “Haeundae Polar Bear Festival” from the “Haeundae Polar Bear Swim Festival”, and will hold various events to help embrace the cold winter weather, as well as pray for good health in the New Year, in addition to a campaign to protect our environment.
This unique winter festival attracts about 50,000 domestic and oversea tourists every year and the number of foreign participants has been steadily increasing during the last three years – 186 foreigners in 2016, 212 in 2017 and 276 in 2018 among about 5,000 participants.
The pre-festival event to promote the festival is scheduled to be held on Saturday, January 5 and the main event of the festival will be held on Sunday, January 6 at Haeundae Beach.
The main event will begin with a 1km swimming competition from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. The enthusiastic festival participants will run and jump into the sea and swim in the cold waters like a polar bear in the Arctic Ocean around noon after congratulatory performances.
This is one of the city’s most enjoyable winter festivals and provides a unique experience for everyone involved.
For more information, please visit the festival website at http://bear.busan.com/