With spring in the air, picnickers will again converge on Jinhae in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.
The 10-day event, now in its 51st year, begins on March 31 at 6 p.m. with an opening ceremony in the heart of the city. At 8 p.m. Yeojwa Stream will be turned into a sea of light as the cherry blossoms are beautifully illuminated along the water.
A fireworks display will take place on the beachfront on April 5 and other events include a traditional Korean music contest, a photography competition, and various other festivals and exhibitions focusing on cherry blossoms.
Last year in particular, the light show drew throngs of visitors and the festival was named among the 50 Beautiful Places to Visit in Korea by CNN.
There will also be a parade of military music bands starting on April 6. About 700 soldiers who are part of 13 bands from the Korean Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines plus the Eighth U.S. Army will participate.
Exhibitions and military installations will be open to the public as well as life-sized replicas of the iron-clad turtle warships or Geobukseon devised by Admiral Yi Sun-shin, who famously defeated invading Japanese forces in the 16th century.
"We aim to attract three million visitors and ensure that the festival lives up to its reputation," a Changwon official said.
Meanwhile, Changwon will also allow visitors to explore a solar tower built in a marine park just off its coast. The structure is 136 m tall and features an observation deck that offers a panoramic view of the port city.