The Lowdown on Medellin’s Flower Festival 2023

TLDR? The Medellin Flower Festival is an annual cultural event locals and tourists don’t dare miss. And for this year, expect rave parties and celebrations in gay bars. 

The annual Feria de Las Flores, more commonly known as the Flower Festival, is an important historical festival that happens in the heart of Medellin. Medellin Flower Festival has become a traveler’s favorite, thanks to joyful celebrations, parades, and beautiful floral displays. 

Feria de Las Flores showcases Medellin’s true identity by featuring exquisite flower displays throughout the city. The City of Eternal Spring ensures each individual sees the beauty of Colombia through its wide selection of vibrant petals and colorful floral arrangements. 

What should you expect when attending the annual Medellin Flower Festival? Here’s a guide to help you get started! 

The History of Feria de Las Flores

The famous Flower Festival was not as extravagant as it is today. And it all started with Silletas, wooden structures peasants used to display and carry flowers they would bring to the town center for sale. 

And if you’re curious who is the man who turned this tradition into an annual festival, you can thank Mr. Arturo Uribe Arango. He was one of the City’s Office of Promotion and Tourism board members in 1957. 

His initiative paved the way for the first Feria de las Flores last May 1, 1957. It was only a tiny event, with only forty peasants heading to Medellin to join. The festival happened in the Metropolitan Cathedral’s atrium. The Club de Jardinería de Medellin organized the said event. 

From then, the Flower Festival became a celebration, uniting all paisa society sectors. And they chose to celebrate yearly, during the month of August. It was also decided that the dates coincide with the independence day of Santa Fe de Antioquia on August 11. 

Today, Feria de Las Flores is one of Medellin’s most colorful and biggest events. Some tourists don’t mind reaching Santa Elena town to witness Silletas’ preparations. 

All About the Flower Festival 2023

The annual flower festival takes place from August 7 to 14, 2023. It’s a history and tradition as locals take pride in showing off beautiful flower presentations alongside other events. 

This 10-day celebration brings together tourists, ex-pats, and locals, and you can definitely feel the joy in the city as it becomes filled with a carnival atmosphere. Attendees can also enjoy the kindness and warm welcome of the paisas, as well as parades, shows, musical stages, and more. 

And the festival’s most famous parade of all time is the Silleteros Parade. Farmers participate by producing different flower arrangements and carrying them on their backs. Did you know that each can weigh up to 70 kilograms?

Flower varieties include the following:

  • Sparkles
  • Carnations
  • Lilies
  • Bridal tulle
  • Sunflowers
  • Roses 
  • Gladioli
  • Orchids
  • Carnations 

Events You Should Not Miss

The Flower Festival is more than admiring beautiful flower displays and interacting with locals. Several events are included, which we suggest you attend to get the whole experience. Here are some of the best events you should definitely not miss when attending the annual festival. 

Silleteros Parade

You won’t enjoy the true essence of the festival if you don’t attend Silleteros Parade, the celebration’s main event. It usually takes place on the last day and is the primary reason behind the name of the Flower Fair. 

The Silleteros Parade showcases the city’s peasants as they carry 70-kilogram Silletas filled with vibrant floral arrangements. Plus, it’s nice to know that these arrangement preparations begin as early as February – from sowing to cultivating and building artisan samples. 

Aside from the flower displays, the Silletas would also have beautiful paintings, drawings, or images that feature unique Antioquian culture. You can also see portraits or landscapes inspired by Colombian history. 

Parade of Classic and Vintage Cars

Another unique event in the flower festival is the parade of more than 500 unique classic cars. The owners of the vehicles decorate their cars according to the festival’s given theme. 

Witness the parading of vintage cars as they drive past Medellin’s main avenues. Spectators love watching on their balconies, nearby buildings, and the sides of the streets. 

Silleteritos Parade

The Silleteritos Parade features more than 500 girls and boys, together with the peasants’ children and the locality’s growers. It should start from the Corregimiento de Santa Elena, where the children also carry tiny Silletas with mini floral arrangements to maintain the Antiquoian tradition. 

Musical Tablados

Small concerts are also part of the festival; you can enjoy one in most Medellin neighborhoods. Hearing live music and entertainment gives you a chance to learn about the different communities within Medellin. Plus, you can also witness live orchestras playing different musical genres.

You can also enjoy other events, including the following:

  • Trova Festival – the main musical event where attendees can engage in sing-off competitions
  • Evening Cultural Park Event – features live music from the Medellin Philharmonic Orchestra, Alcolyricoz, Kombilesa Mi, and Grupo Bahia

Metro Concierto de Conciertos

Aside from more than 150 small concerts during the festival, probably the most important musical event is Metro Concierto de Conciertos. 

This takes place on the festival’s final Sunday and brings together famous Latin pop stars in South America at the Estadio Atanasio Girardot. The concert will begin at 6 pm. 

A Special Event for the Cyclists

We all know Medellin is one of Colombia’s bike-friendly cities. So if you’re a cyclist, Flower Festival made sure to include a special event for all cyclists! The festival will also host a special cycling event, aiming to highlight the best of the flower fair while just riding on two wheels. 

The cycling event starts at 3 pm and ends at 8 pm, and the starting point is at Medellin downtown in Lights Park. Experience the beauty of Medellin during the day and night while meeting new cyclists who can definitely become your friends! 

The Santa Elena Silleteros Tour

Aside from the festival proper, other extraordinary moments start at Santa Elena Village. Here you can learn about one of Antioquia’s most representative traditions. For only 109,000 US dollars per person, you can enjoy an exclusive Santa Elena Silleteros Tour that includes the following:

  • Daily departures between the festival dates
  • The tour happens from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm. 
  • Free transportation in all special tourism vehicles
  • A visit to Santa Elena’s main park and the Silletero Monument
  • A tour of the Piedras Blancas Ecological Park and a complimentary breakfast
  • Participate in the Silleta elaboration on the Santa Elena Silletera farm
  • Lunch from Super Moga Montañera
  • Visit Arví Paek 
  • Join the Lightning Joke Festival
  • Return at exactly 5:30 pm

You can contact the organization through WhatsApp to book a tour. 

The Chiva Carnival

Another important event of the Flower Festival is the Chiva Carnival which shows off traditional Chivas or Colombian open-sided buses. These vehicles were built using truck chassis and are the main modes of transport in rural areas. 

Colombian Chivas can survive rocky roads and mountainous terrains. There are no windows, and the seats are normal benches. During the Flower Festival, you can see more than 80 decorated Chivas you can ride to enjoy a three-hour parade. 

Plus, you can also enjoy watching a fierce competition among the Chivas and judge which has the best decoration and mechanical function. Winners of the match get publicity photographs for the following year’s parade.

Gay Feria de las Flores

During the festival’s final weekend, you can check out El Mozo and Industry Club for special themed parties to celebrate the city’s beautiful flower fair. The club includes several gay bars and nightclubs along El Poblado.

During the day, you can join the Tour Queer Flores y Silletas to discover more about the Flower Festival and its customs. At night, take a VIP party night tour that will take you to four gay clubs with free drinks and transportation. 

Some of the gay bars and clubs that will take part in this year’s flower festival include:

  • Bar Chiquita – features a large outdoor terrace where you can watch the carnival 
  • La Cantina de Javi – gives you an authentic bar experience
  • Donde Aquellos – an ideal bar when you want to meet hot local Colombians while dancing to salsa music
  • Ink Bar 33 – near Viva gay club in the Laureles district
  • Zero by Purple Club – a small club along Poblado packed with Latino pop mixes
  • Viva Discoteca – a huge gay club that plays Reggaeton and Crossover music

The Beauty of the Botanical Gardens

Aside from the Flower Fair you must visit to witness beautiful arrangements and exquisite petals, the Botanical Gardens must also be one of the places you can check out. During the first week of August, you can certainly witness unique flower displays and traditional arrangements in this lovely garden. 

Admire The Beauty of Flowers in Medellin’s Fiera de las Flores 2023

It’s safe to say you won’t find another event as huge and legendary as Medellin’s Fiera de las Flores. The fantastic combination of parades, celebrations, and musical events will undoubtedly make you feel excited to join this year’s flower fair. 

Medellin Flower Festival showcases the rich floral diversity of the region and celebrates the cultural significance of flowers in the city of eternal spring.

Whether you are a flower enthusiast, a nature lover, or someone seeking a unique cultural experience, the Fiera de las Flores in Medellin is a must-visit event. It offers an unforgettable journey through the world of flowers, providing moments of awe and inspiration that will linger in your memory long after the festival has ended.

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