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TLDR? The Medellin Flower Festival takes place in August each year.
Following hot on the high-heels of Colombiamoda, Medellin’s flower festival is the highlight of the cultural calendar in Medellin.
It’s a colorful celebration of the Colombian countryside and one of its biggest exports, flowers. The festival is one of the biggest attractions for visitors to the city.
So, what can you expect at this festival? Keep reading to find out.
Taking place over ten days that incorporate the first and second or second and third weekends of August, the Feria de las Flores, as it is known to the locals, is an intoxicating mix of tradition, color, and parties.
The highlight of the show is a spectacular desfile de los silleteros, a parade of impressive floral displays. These displays are painstakingly put together and hauled from one side of the city to the other by flower vendors from the hills of Medellin.
The outpouring of admiration for the hard-working campesinos who strap these “seats” to their backs and parade through the city reaches the kind of euphoric heights saved for the most ardent of monarchists when they see Queen Elizabeth II passing by in her glittering carriage in London.
The deep-seated tradition stretches back to Colombia’s colonial past when Colombian peasants or slaves would have used seats to transport noblemen from one place to another.
These days the silleteros transport floral displays that can weigh up to 110 kg each and include 100 different types of flowers.
The first festival took place in 1957 with 40 participants in the first parade and the party has grown to more than 500 flower fanatics seizing the chance to compete for the prize of the most spectacular silletero.
Apart from the desfile which takes place on the second Sunday of the festival, there are a series of other parades. Also adding to the floral theme, the Botanical Garden hosts a special show of rare orchids.
One of the highlights is the fiesta de fondas. This is a selection of stands representing each of the small villages of Antioquia. It’s also a culinary celebration and a great excuse to down a few cold beers.
There are plenty of street entertainers performing salsa, tango, and other traditional music genres. That gives the whole event a carnival feel.
In the evenings the city’s clubs, bars and liquor stores are busier than at any time during the rest of the year.
And, you’ll find packed-out concerts that bring together big-name salsa singers and the hottest acts in Reggaeton to keep the crowds busy at night.
A popular excursion is to head up into the hills of Santa Elena on the day before the big parade. There, you can see the silleteros putting the finishing touches to their displays through the night. It’s definitely worth the trek!
With this rundown of the Medellin Flower Festival, we’d bet you’re itching to get your tickets. And you should! The festival is a must-see event each year.