With my new found passion for strawberries, this was a festival I could not miss. I had actually been counting down the days for the Nonsan Strawberry Festival. The descriptions of it sounded amazing, with the long list of strawberry related things to do, we had planned to make it a whole weekend affair.
A small group of us were up with the chickens and en route to Nonsan early Saturday morning. We arrived before the masses which was really nice and got to check out all the festival had to offer. There were a few interesting things to see and do. Hmmmmm, what were they again? There was a lot of totally unrelated boring things going on there. I assumed the festival was going to be in a rural area, with strawberry picking being one of the main attractions, but apparently you had to be bussed out for it. Scratch that off my list. I was also looking forward to strawberry hot sauce (none to be found), strawberry kimchi (nope), and strawberry flavoured soju (yeah, none of that in sight either). So there were a few let downs. There was a massive stage with a whole lot of nothing interesting going on. The day before it had rained buckets and no measures had been taken to sort out the mud so we were caked in it pretty much as soon as we got there. Ok, so overall, it was a little disappointing.
Not everything was a let down though. The people watching was awesome. The weather was really beautiful so people were happy and smiling and enjoying the day out. We had really good bits and bites of festival food. The highlight by far was the cake making tent. You bought 2 slabs of angel cake, a bowl of icing and a heap of strawberries and you could go to town with it (we even got creative and bought some jam from the stall next door and added that as an extra layer). We went in on a cake between 5 of us. Carrying it around all day and then figuring out who got to take it home, or dividing it up was too much trouble so the obvious answer was a cake picnic at the festival. Now forks in Korea are a difficult thing to come by in general, never mind in the makeshift area where we were in. So we managed to pilfer some chopsticks and mmmmmmmm, there was the highlight of my day. Five girls, one cake!
There were a few other interesting bits going on like face painting and a random nail tent where I scored a free manicure. By mid afternoon the festival was crawling with people and with all the mud and muck things were getting messy and too busy for much more enjoyment. So after stuffing our faces with delicious strawberry cake, we called it a day. We also made a quick escape out of Nonsan and back to Osan before the crowds departed. Although we didn't score a seat on the 2 hr train ride home, I was pleased to make it out of there without having to stay another day in Strawberry Land. We came, we saw, it wasn't what I expected, but we conquered. (Not to mention our Saturday evening plans included a night out of clubbing in Suwon, with the same group of girls that was waaaaaaaaaay more entertaining than strawberries ;)