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Dive headfirst into the 36th Haeundae Polar Bear Festival

Busan Ilbo(

Busan’s mega winter event is back! The 36th Haeundae Polar Bear Festival takes place on Dec. 15 and 16 at Haeundae Beach. The annual festival, hosted by Busan Ilbo, invites everyone to plunge into icy water to invigorate their physical and mental health ahead of the new year.

While winter swimming is the main draw, various programs and events will be on hand to entertain visitors. Organizers have set up a photo zone featuring polar bears and glaciers to raise awareness of the severity of climate change. The installation aims to express the urgency to protect the planet and slow global warming. 

On Dec. 15, the “Polar Perpet Show” (perfect + pet) and live music will kick off the weekend. During the “Polar Perpet Show,” from 7:30 to 8 p.m., pet owners and their dogs will strut the runway wearing polar bear costumes. In addition, from 8:30 to 9 p.m., award-winning show choir group Harmonize will perform. You don’t want to miss the musical ensemble’s dynamic singing and dancing.

On Dec. 16, join nearly 2,000 people as they dive in for the Polar Bear Swim, either just for fun or as part of the 1km race. If that isn’t for you, try the ice bucket challenge, running races and much more! Enjoy concerts by PSY impersonator Psyburger and rapper San E to cap off the weekend, which begin at 3 p.m.

The Haeundae Polar Bear Festival is a unique experience that ranked no. 1 on BBC’s list of “Top 10 Unusual Winter Sports” (2010). Why don’t you join the polar bear celebration this weekend?


※ 36th Haeundae Polar Bear Festival, Dec. 15 to 16

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 ◎ Instagram: @polarbearfestival