Tips for maximum enjoyment of the Flower Fair
The Little Prince once said you should never listen to flowers; you should contemplate them. In Medellín, however, we live them. From August 2nd to the 11th, 2019, one more episode of the Flower Fair will be held, a multi-colored event in which the spirit of our region vibrates.
The so-called city of eternal spring dresses up to receive guests from the nation and abroad within an environment of celebration around the silletero culture. This celebration is also an excuse to live the paisa culture, a lifestyle of hospitality with a deep respect for tradition.
As this is a major event, if this is the first time you’ll be attending, you’ll find some recommendations here for maximum enjoyment.
The heart of the fair is precisely the flower’s parade. It begins in the village of Santa Elena, where hundreds of rural families walk along carrying “silletas” on their backs that contain their monumental creations of flower arrangements. The first fair took place on May 1st, 1957. Meanwhile, the parade was declared a National Cultural Heritage in 2013.
Today, there is programming that includes activities for all tastes. You can choose among dog walks, artistic scenarios, nights of folklore, different parades and the National Trova (Folkloric Rhyme) Festival, one of the most popular events, among others.
If you are planning on traveling to Medellín during these dates, you should stay all week. However, if that’s impossible for you, try the following short plan.
The recommended short plan includes arriving early on Friday and leaving late on Sunday. Your best bet would be to make sure you don’t miss out on the Silletero Parade, which takes place during the day on Sunday, August 11th.
What not to miss?
Obviously, the Silletero Parade is a unique performance. You need to experience it at least once in a lifetime, but there are other events that are also worth your while. If you can’t visit during the Fair’s first weekend for any reason, there are a number of interesting choices for you.
For instance, on August 3rd the Feria a Ritmo de Bicicleta (The Fair to the Rhythm of Bikes) will be held. It is a very entertaining event where the paisas ride their bicycles dressed in costumes representing famous characters or other striking get-ups.
Another must-see event takes places at the Jardín Botánico de Medellín (Botanical Gardens). On its own, this place is highly recommended. However, during the fair it’s even more appealing, since it transforms itself into the venue for the most complete exhibition of orchids, flowers and crafts. This event offers both entertainment and learning.
On Saturday, August 10th, the Classical and Antique Car Parade takes place. This is also one of the most popular events of the Fair. Around 200 motorized vehicles will parade themselves showing the evolution the auto has had, along a 28-kilometer stretch.
The National Trova Festival and Artist Street
Because every celebration needs music, The National Trova (Folkloric Verse) Festival is one of the cherries on top of the cake during the Feria de las Flores (Flower Fair). There are two semifinals during the festival and a grand finale where the National Trova King is crowned.
The “trova paisa” is made up of a few sung, rhymed and improvised verses that have always had a competitive nature between two rivals. These chants originated during the travels the “arrieros” made long ago, where they would make up verses and sing them at each other to ease their boredom. Today, they are part of Medellin’s artistic, social and cultural heritage.
The events will be held on August 2, 3 and 9 at the “Parque de los Deseos.”
Meanwhile, some squares will be transformed into “La Calle de los Artistas” (Artist Street), as public arenas which will take advantage of the city as a stage to show the work and talent of singers, musicians and actors, among others.
If this is additionally the first time you visit Medellín, be aware the city has many experiences that are obviously enriched during the Flower Fair. A place you don’t want to miss is the Plaza Botero, where you’ll find sculptures from the emblematic artist, Fernando Botero. Beyond the city limits, you may also want to visit Antioquia’s Heritage Towns. This is a land circuit filled with culture, history and gastronomy. The must-see places are Santa Fe de Antioquia, Jardín and Jericó.
The Plaza de Flores (Flower Plaza) is set up within the Flower Fair framework. This year, it will be at the Parque Norte. It is the perfect venue in which to learn about the paisa culture and its food. This is why, if this is the first time you visit Medellín, we recommend you wear loose clothing, because you are here to eat, and eat well you shall. Some of the dishes you don’t want to miss are…
Picada antioqueña (meat platter):
It’s made up of a variety of meats, such as pork cracklings (pork rinds), pork sausage and blood sausage, which are usually served along with a variety of potatoes, avocado and arepa. It’s a dish made for sharing.
Micheladas de mango biche (green mango micheladas):
This is a refreshing drink made up of lemon juice, salt, pepper, mango strips and beer.
They are made out of a thin corn base and stuffed with seasoned potatoes, then fried. They are a true delicacy.
In August, Medellín loves you and opens its arms to receive its guests within the framework of its most important party: The Flower Fair. Don’t miss out on the enjoyment!