For the last 50 years the city of Medellin in Colombia has hosted an annual Flower Festival.
Medellin is a lively and modern mountain metropolis standing amongst South America’s Andes mountains at a comfortable 8,000 ft.above sea level, and is known as a “City of Eternal Spring”. The altitude is just high enough for perfect weather, and ensures an ideal climate for year ’round blossoms that has made Medellin “Flower Capital of the Americas.”
For 2011 the Flower Festival runs from 29th July to 7th August. Boasting one of the largest flower parades in the world, visitors will find themselves amidst a wonderful burst of colour and the scent of fresh flowers throughout the city.
The festival officially opens with the Cabalgata – a three-hour long horse parade that begins dramatically with Colombia’s vibrant colors – red, yellow, and blue – filling the sky with smoke from fireworks, and giving the Feria de Flores a flower kingdom’s majest
One of the highlights of the festival is the parade of the Silleteros, a procession of men and women carrying wooden constructions elaborately decorated with beautifully coloured flowers. Visitors will also experience parades of classic cars, recitals, concerts and not to be missed is the stunning orchid exhibition at the Botanical Gardens.
A little history about the festival
In 1957, the “parade of silleteros” occurred for the first time. It was celebrated when a garden club in Medellin decided to host a flower exposition in Bolivar Park, in the Atrium of the Metropolitan cathedral. At this time it was called the flowers party, with musical groups and the participation of queens, carriages and dancing’s in social’s clubs.
Forty’ silleteros, farmers with bunch’s of flowers and foliages on their backs in a wood frame body (a wood part used for selling their products in the “ Placita de flores”), were invited to participate in this floral’ event walking to the park, in the downtown’ area.
Even though the first festival was celebrated for originally in May 1958, it was later moved to the date of August 11th, the day of the Antioquia’s Independence’s day. Today the silleteros’ parade is one of main event in flower festival with the participation of 500 Silleteros.