Every August, the flower growers of Medellin, Colombia, celebrate their contribution to the city's culture with a Fiesta of Flowers, culminating in a parade of flower arrangements carried on the backs of the village growers. The villagers construct enormous circular flower paintings on 6-foot backings, then place the flowers on a silleta, or a wooden chair, similar to those used in colonial times to carry the wealthy over the Andes. Men, called silleteros and women, silleteras, as well a children, march along a 1 1/2 mile parade route through the city before hundreds of thousands of spectators. It is a marvel of beauty and sheer determination, as some of the arrangements may be 6 feet in diameter and weigh more than 200 pounds.
Last week, I witnessed the parade for the first time and was awestruck.