Business travelers to Colombia in the coming weeks would be unwise not to make time for this year’s Feria de las Flores (Flower Fair) taking place in Medellin. Colombia is one of the world’s top flower producers, and Medellin’s Antioquia region is a flower production epicenter. The annual celebration of this bounty takes place every year with a parade and judging of silleteros, people carrying exquisitely designed flower mounts, “Gigantes de Flores,” giant flower topiaries, artistic events, nocturnal exhibits, bazaars, and agricultural events.
Most events are free, but some privately organized events associated with the Feria, such as the kickoff concert sponsored by Pilsen Beer, require tickets. The July 31 kickoff concert features salsa singer Rey Ruiz, Vallenato crooner Martín Elías, and Reggaetón stars Zion Y Lennox.
The Silletero parade takes place on Sunday, the 9th of August and starts at 2pm at the Guayaquil Bridge, and terminates in the Plaza Mayor—Medellin’s equivalent of a Town Square, where the finalists and winners of the Silletas contest will be featured. This year’s parade consists of 420 adults, and 80 youths between the ages of 7 and 17.
Purdue University’s marching band will be visiting from the United States, a cohort of over 200 students, 10 technical directors, and conductor Jay Gephart, performing in the parade, and at other sites during the Feria. Purdue University already has strong links with Colombia, including programs with EAFIT University, and Ruta N.
Currently confirmed performers:
- Purdue University Marching Band (USA)
- Rey Ruiz
- Martín Elías
- Zion & Lennox (Puerto Rico)
- Zona Prieta
- Haydée Milanés (Cuba)
- Yury Buenaventura
- Gospel Voices (USA)
- Grupo Profetas
- Grupo El Sur Suena Cubano (Cuba)
- Grupo Bahia
- Edmar Castañeda (USA)
- Grupo Fatso
- Grupo María Barilla
- La Bambarabanda
- Victoria Sur
- Trío Barahú
- Yolanda Be Cool (Australia)
- Roger Sánchez (USA)
- Tego Calderón (Puerto Rico)
On the first and second of August, the floral bazaar takes place in the Ciudad del Rio park from 10am to 8pm featuring local designers, cultural goods, youth entrepreneurs and craftspeople, and culinary offerings from local restaurants.
Sunday, August 2nd is Noche Negra (Black Night) and features Gospel Voices from the United States, a choir featuring singers from Central State University in Ohio, Prarie View A&M University in Texas, and Alabama A&M (Agricultural & Mechanical) University. Colombia’s Grupo Profetas, musicians that fuse reggae, rock, and hip-hop with AfroColombian music and featuring African Antombo Languangui and Colombian Pablo Fortaleza will perform.
Jazz group El Sur Suena Cubano from Cuba, featuring Kelvis Ochoa, William Vivanco, and drummer Yissy Garcia is performing, as well as Colombia’s own Grupo Bahia, representing the sounds of Colombia’s Pacific coast.
Friday the 7th of August will see a classic car show that runs from El Colombiano newspaper facilities to EAFIT University. From August 4th to 9th, orchids and parrots will be on display in the Jardín Botánico (Botanical Gardens). The last weekend of the feria features a concert with the likes of Yolanda Be Cool, De Bruces a Mí, Astronaut, ChoQuibTown, and Tego Calderón.
Photos of the 2014 Feria de las Flores provided courtesy of the Medellin Convention & Visitors Bureau