Colombia is the worlds second largest exporter of cut flowers, and much of that industry is centered in the pueblos close to Medellin. 75% of the roses sold in the US for Valentines day come from Colombia. Every year this is celebrated in a grand fashion, and in fact the weeklong Festival de Flores in August is Medellin’s biggest celebration of the year. It features a week of parades, music, dancing, food, and many other events. The most iconic symbol being the silleteros, the large artistic decoration of flowers on a wood frame that is carried on the backs of the locals dressed in the traditional garb of the farmers. Hundreds of participants carry these through the streets of Medellin on a parade route of many kilometers ending with a contest for the best presentations.
Envigado, a municipality on the southern border of Medellin, has its own if not a bit smaller version of these festivities, many of which we attended. Here the festivities are a bit closer and more personal. The penultimate and most important event is the parade of the silleteros.
As you can see those silleteros are not lightweight! Besides the silleteros the parades have a variety of characters.
In Envigado as with all cities in Colombia the main town square, or parque, is the center of social life.
There is even a major billiards tournament that draws players from all of Colombia and beyond. Billiards is very popular in Colombia, but you do not see much eight ball, or tables with pockets for that matter!
If you are thinking about a trip to Medellin, you could do a lot worse than coming in August and enjoying the sights and sounds of the Festival de Flores.