Festival of the Flowers
|Festival of the Flowers
Feria de las Flores
The Flowers Festival (Spanish: Feria de las Flores) is a festival that takes place in Medellín, Colombia. The festival is the most important social event for the city and there is a pageant, automobiles, a Paso Fino horse parade and many musical concerts.
The first Flowers Festival took place on May 1, 1957 and was organized by Arturo Uribe, a member of the Board of the Office of Development and Tourism. The festival lasted for five days with an exposition of flowers displayed in the Metropolitan Cathedral, which was organized by the Gardening Club of Medellín and monsignor Tulio Botero to celebrate Virgin Mary day. This flower parade represents the end of slavery when slaves carried men and women on their backs up steep hills instead of flowers. The first silleteros parade also took place with some 40 men from the corregimiento of Santa Elena carrying on their backs flower arrangements to the exposition site.
The festival initially took place during the month of May but was changed to August in 1958 to celebrate the independence of Antioquia. Since then, other events have been added like the International Pageant of the Flowers, the cavalcade, Guinness Records in 1996 and 1999, classic automobiles parade, Orchids exposition, among others.
In 1999 during its first edition, the festival reached 482 silleteros participants. The 2006 edition also featured a new category of silleteros as spokeswomen for the Convention Center Bureau of Madrid Maria Isabel Lopez mentioned "these are the Pioneers, who will show all their Silletas making experience, but will not participate in the contest". Some 50 peasants will carry the silletas, 260 featuring traditional arrangements, 50 with commercial propaganda and 28 from the new Pioneer category. As in previous years, the Mayor of Medellín sponsored the awards of the Silleteros contest. In 2006, there were a total of 260 awards, selected and given by three juries.
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