The Flower Festival is perhaps one of the most important and defining festivals for Medelin. The Desfile de Silleteros (Silletero parade) is the center-piece of it all.
Colombians wrapped up the annual flower festival in the northwest city of Medellin with a traditional parade in which local flower growers carry enormous “silletas,” or elaborate floral arrangements.
According to organizers, this year’s festival – edition number 61 – attracted more than 20,000 tourists and 510 “silleteros” as the flower designers are called.
The annual event began in 1957 to celebrate the importance of the flower growers in the region and the 19th century tradition from nearby Santa Elena of carrying goods, flowers and even sick people on residents’ backs.
It’s the highlight of the year. I celebrate it more than Christmas, my birthday or any other important date.
Marta Isabel is a flower grower and participated in the parade.
“It’s a very important date when we showcase our ‘silletera’ culture, the hard work of the Santa Helena farmers and we come here to display beautiful artworks for the whole city of Medellin and internationally too”, she said.
For many participants like Francisco Orlando Quintero, it’s the highlight of the year. “I celebrate it more than Christmas, my birthday or any other important date,” Quintero said.
The flower arrangements placed on large wooden frames can weigh over 100 kilograms.
Colombia’s famed flower industry is the largest in the Western Hemisphere and the second largest in the world after the Netherlands.