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.
For many, like participant 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.