Feria de Flores
2008 - Medellin,
Colombia - 2008
was once known as one of the centers of the drug cartel run by Pablo
Escobar and an incredibly dangerous place. Today, it is one of my
favorite cities with the friendliest and most helpful people you will
ever meet anywhere in the world that only want you to think the best of
Festival of Flowers is held the first week of August each year and was
one of the most amazing events I have seen yet in my life. I have been
a lot of places and seen a lot of things, but this will be in the top
three of all time. The pictures will never do justice to the incredible
beauty and awe of these displays; it is something you have to
traditional element in the parade is the silleta,which is the framework
that the flower designs are created on and then carried on the back of
the participant. Each one incorporates approximately 60 varieties of
silleta weighs approximately 70 kilos (154 lbs.)and is about 2 meters
high (6.7 feet). The tradition is passed down from generation to
generation with the oldest person in this year's parade (if I remember
right) at 84 and the youngest at 10. It is a great honor to carry the
silleta for your family.
The flowers were incredible and ranged from orchids to roses and
lilies. Every square inch of the displays are made with flowers,
including any 3D designs with people or butterflies coming out of the
silletas came from colonial time when they were used to transport
people and products on their backs. Several categories are used for
judging the flower arrangements from traditional, commercial,
emblems,and you'll see lots of value messages and pride in Colombia.
We stood for 3.5 hours to get a good position (in the hot sun on a box
defending our 2x2 space - thank God for the umbrella!)to see the parade
and it was "vale la pena" to see display after display come up over the
hill for two hours straight. It honestly brought tears to my eyes
because of the commitment, beauty, and dedication of the participants
to this tradition.
lady on the left was the oldest participant in the parade and one of
the smallest I think!
You can see in the up close picture how intricate the flower designs
are and how involved they can be. Each participating family comes up
with their own design and ideas for what they want to present each year.
know I said it already, but the only material used in these silletas
are flowers to create all the elements of the design.
If you couldn't tell by the parade how big the displays are, Steve is 6
feet tall and standing next to one of the parade winners.
really liked the traditional displays as much as the grandioso ones
because of the collections of flowers used in each one. I can't image
the endurance to carry even the smaller silletas for the entire five
mile parade route in the 80 degree weather.
entire week of the festival is filled with events. One of the other
parades is of classic cars. I just put a few of my favorites of the 250
cars up to see. There were too many Mustangs to count, (because anyone
can have one of those - ha, ha) but only two Corvettes. I had to pick
the one that's been around as long as I have. The car on the left
is actually a hearse.
Besides the car parade, there is also a parade of chivas, the
traditional bus that takes the farm workers out to the fields, as well
as party goers around town.
They were judged for their designs and paint jobs, and the amount of
different cultural elements included somewhere on their vehicles.
So that's it for our trip to the 51st Feria de Flores! We missed
several events over the 10 days, but saw enough to make memories of a
lifetime. Many of you would probably also enjoy the Parade of Horses,
the mountain man competitions, and the local events and silleta parades
that go on in the towns around Medellin. If you enjoy flowers, culture,
and festivities and ever get the chance to come to Medellin, make sure
you visit the first week in August for an experience unlike any other
in the world.
and Cathy Carpenter