It’s Tuesday here in sunny Antioquia, and the city is buzzing from the 62st Feria de las Flores, Medellin’s annual Flower Festival and most important event of the year. It’s going to be a big week.
One can imagine that there are parades, flowers, and cultural delights, but the Feria’s intimidating, 30-page, all-Spanish program may make it daunting to decide which events to attend. It doesn’t help that there’s very little information online in English.
So, what is actually going on at this festival? Which events should you attend? We’ve put together this guide to help get you started.
The Feria de las flores began humbly in May 1957 as a five day celebration of flowers and local culture. Most of this event consisted of parties in private social clubs, though the highlight was a parade of 30-40 silleteros: rural men carrying ornate flower arrangements on their backs. Since then the festival has grown to international importance, with the parade of silleteros continuing as one of the most important events.
Because of the growth of the event, the fair has seen several significant changes in recent years. The Cabalgata, or horse parade, which famously paraded hundreds of horses down Medellin’s central highway, was cancelled due to mistreatment of horses, intoxicated riders, and other controversies. The event has been replaced by a bicycle parade.
Trova Competition Finale
What’s Trova? Think rap battles, but Colombian style: typical music, guitars, and with the goal of rousing the audience to the heights of laughter and cheer. On Friday is the culmination of many rounds of elimination. The finals are Friday, August 9th. Location: Plaza Gardel at 6 pm
The Flower Parade, or La Silletera.
Sunday, August 11th holds the grand finale and arguably the week’s most important and anticipated events of Feria de las flores. Watch as 500 locals of all ages parade through the streets carrying ornate flower arrangements on their backs.
The flower arrangements are mounted on chairs, hence the name silla teros (“silla” means chair in Spanish) for those that carry them.
Location: Avenida Regional (Puente de Guayaquil), San Juan, Avenida Ferrocarril, Plaza Mayor. Enter at 10am for the 2pm start.