Feria de las Flores is Medellín’s biggest annual festival and normally starts in August. La Feria de las Flores 2021 (Festival of Flowers) has been scheduled for August 12 to 22 in 2021,

The 11-day festival is a huge annual celebration of paisa culture. This year is the 64th annual Feria de las Flores in Medellín. Also, this festival is the most important social event for the city of Medellín. And the Flower Festival is one of the best ways to get an authentic taste of the local culture.

I have attended Feria de las Flores the last eight out of nine years in a row and a couple years before that. Below, I will share the highlight events of this year’s festival, as well as some expat tips so you can enjoy  events.

The official Feria de las Flores 2021 website is where you can register online for main events – https://www.feriadelasfloresmedellin.gov.co/. The main events for Feria de las Flores 2021 will have limited and controlled access. Here is a link to the entire official schedule for Feria de las Flores.

NOTE registration for Feria de las Flores events is enabled only three days before events.

2021 Feria de las Flores – the Medellín Flower Festival Schedule:

If you are over 40 years old, you need proof of being vaccinated to attend the main 2021 Feria de las Flores events.

To attend events the main events, reportedly you must fill out a form online on the https://www.feriadelasfloresmedellin.gov.co/ website and a QR code will be sent via email and cell phones to be use to enter events. .

It should be noted that the capacity for events is controlled, once the maximum is closed, nobody else will be able to register.

Each person will be able to enter one event per day, and it is required to fill out all the requested data, including about being vaccinated. Those who are over 40 years of age must attach an image of the vaccination card.

Importnat dates for 2021:

August 12 – The inauguration of Feria de las Flores will take place on Thursday, August 12, on a stage that will be called Futuro, and will take place at the Carlos Vieco Theater, with controlled capacity.

August 22 – the is the main event, the Flower Parade (Desfile de Silleteros). This will be held at the Atanasio Girardot Stadium, on Sunday, August 22. The silleteros will be judged at the stadium and there will also be the awarding of the Traditional, Emblematic and Monumental silletas.

Here is a link to the entire official schedule for Feria de las Flores.

There is no Classic Car Parade (Desfile de Autos Clasicos) in 2021.

In addition, Medellín will have more than 3,000 artists on stage. This will be a hybrid (face-to-face and virtual), but Medellín will have 28 stages for artists. Locations include Teatro Carlos Vieco and Edificio Vasquez.

Desfile de Silleteros

Desfile de Silleteros

Feria de las Flores in 2020 was Also Completely Different Due to Coronavirus

Feria de las Flores in 2020 was completely different than prior years due to coronavirus. Not only did the dates change, the format changed as well.

The motto of the 2020 Feria de las Floras was “Volveremos a florecer” (We will bloom again), a message of hope that this city administration wants to deliver and continue with the silletera tradition.

In 2020, there will not be the Flower Parade (Desfile de Silleteros) with huge crowds. Desfile de Silleteros will be held in Santa Elena on November 8 and is closed to the public and will broadcast on the social networks of the Medellín Mayor’s Office and on Telemedellín, the local TV channel.

Instead of having a big flower parade for the public, Medellín instead had smaller caravans in several parts of the city.

These were called Caravanas de las Flores (Caravans of Flowers), floats that are essentially  “mini-fairs” that will exhibit the flowers throughout the neighborhoods of Medellín.

The caravans will tour the neighborhoods of Medellín from November 1 to 5, 2020 starting at 2:00 p.m. each day:

  • November 1 – San Cristóbal Palmitas, Belén and Guayabal.
  • November 2 – Altavista, La Candelaria, Buenos Aires and Villa Hermosa.
  • November 3 – San Antonio de Prado, Popular, Santa Cruz, Manrique and Aranjuez
  • November 4 – El Poblado, Castilla, Doce de Octubre and Robledo.
  • November 5 – Santa Elena, San Javier, La América and Laureles.

After Desfile de Silleteros and the awards ceremony (on November 8), the 510 silletas will be exhibited in Metro stations, shopping centers, Plaza Mayor, Museo de Antioquia and Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín, among other venues.

Also, Feria de las Flores in 2020 did not hold the traditional Parade of Classic and Antique Cars. Instead there were exhibitions of these cars in five shopping malls in the city. The five malls where the Antique cars will be on display are:

  1. Centro Comercial Oviedo, El Pobaldo
  2. El Tesoro, El Poblado
  3. Florida Parque, Robledo
  4. La Central, Buenos Aires
  5. Los Molinos, Belén

Warning there were only a handful of cars on display in each mall.

Last year’s Flower Fair could seen from home. All events were broadcast through the Telemedellín TV channel, the website https://www.feriadelasfloresmedellin.gov.co/, and on mobile apps (for Android and iPhone).

The flower parade at the 60th Feria de las Flores in 2017

The flower parade at the 60th Feria de las Flores in 2017

History of Feria de las Flores – the Medellín Flower Festival

The first Feria de las Flores, or flower festival, reportedly took place in Medellin in May 1957. It was intended to host a tribute to the thriving flower business in the Medellín area. And it was organized by Arturo Uribe, a member of the Board of the Office of Development and Tourism.

This first flower festival was referred to as the “Flower Party”. And it lasted for five days with an exposition of flowers displayed in the Catedral Basílica Metropolitana. In addition, the first silleteros parade took place with about 40 men from Santa Elena carrying on their backs flower arrangements to the exposition site

The following year in 1958, the month of the festival was changed to August. This was done to celebrate the independence of Antioquia. Over the next 60 years, additional events were added to the festival, which increased the duration to the current 10 to 11 days each year.

Marc Anthony headlining Súper Concierto de Feria de las Flores 2019, photo courtesy of Tuboleta

Marc Anthony headlining Súper Concierto de Feria de las Flores 2019, photo courtesy of Tuboleta

Súper Concierto de Feria de las Flores

A big concert will not been scheduled for Feria de las Flores in 2020 or 2021 due to coronavirus.

The 2019 Súper Concierto de Feria de las Flores was headlined by Marc Anthony along with Ozuna, Carlos Vives, Maluma, Alex Fernandez Jr., Becky G, Yeison Jimenez and Jaycob Duque. The was the fifth year in a row with Marc Anthony as the big concert headliner.

The concert last year was held at the large Estadio Atanasio Girardot sports stadium in Estadio. It is scheduled to start at 6 pm but concerts in Colombia typically start late. And get there early due to lines.

Expat Tips:  For this big concert held in previous years, we recommend buying the more expensive “Platino” tickets and arrive earlier than normal. Platino tickets sold for 312,000 pesos in 2019. You’ll get in faster (possibly saving an hour or more of waiting in line). Tickets for the concert last year were on sale at Tuboleta.

In my experience, big concerts in Colombia are not always well-organized. And the most impressive I have been to in Colombia was seeing Shakira in Barranquilla.

1932 Oldsmobile from last year's Desfile de Autos Clasicos

1932 Oldsmobile from last year’s Desfile de Autos Clasicos

Classic Car Parade (Desfile de Autos Clasicos)

Each year an estimated one million people see the Desfile de Autos Clasicos (Classic Car Parade). You can see our photos from last year’s Desfile de Autos Clasicos (Classic Car Parade).

In 2020 there was not one and 2021 there will not be the traditional car parade with the huge crowds due to coronavirus. Instead during the eight days of Feria de las Flores in 2020, classic cars were put on display in five shopping malls in the Medellín area.

  1. Centro Comercial Oviedo, El Pobaldo
  2. El Tesoro, El Poblado
  3. Florida Parque, Robledo
  4. La Central, Buenos Aires
  5. Los Molinos, Belén

Warning there were only a handful of cars on display in each mall.

1936 Ford from the 2017 Classic Car Parade

1936 Ford from the 2017 Classic Car Parade

Paisas have some very old cars that are in excellent condition. And some Colombians even come from all over the country to participate in this very popular parade. Every year, they dust the cars off and dress up in costumes to go for a drive in the classic car parade. In 2019, over 300 vehicles participated.

1929 Ford Model A pulling the 1900 De Dion Bouton in the 2018 parade

1929 Ford Model A pulling the 1900 De Dion Bouton in the 2018 parade

The vehicles in Desfile de Autos Clasicos are in several categories, including

  1. Old vehicles – cars which are at least 35 years old. And they must retain their original specifications.
  2. Classic vehicles – cars which are at least 50 years old. And they must retain their original features and specifications.
  3. Street rod vehicles – cars which are at least 35 years old and retain the completely original exterior and all accessories, emblems and mirrors. Inside parts and mechanicals can change but these should not be noticeable from the outside.
  4. Hot rod vehicles – cars that were completely changed in the mechanics, suspension and body. This includes finishes such as paint and upholstery typically very different from the original. There is a limit of 25 cars in this category selected by a committee.
  5. Vehicles produced, assembled or distributed in Colombia – cars included in this category must be at least 35 years old and at least 95 percent original.

In addition, there is a special category for military Jeeps and Volkswagens.

1934 Ford from last year

1934 Ford from last year

Flower Parade (Desfile de Silleteros)

Desfile de Silleteros is a parade where paisas of all ages carry flower displays on their backs on wooden silletas, for hours. Everyone from little kids to women and men in their 60s and even older can be seen carrying the flowers. Las year there was a total of about 500 silleteros in the parade and in 2020 there will 510 silleteros.

Also, you can see our photos from last year’s Desfile de Silleteros. Unfortunately this large parade can only be seen on TV or online in 2020. However in 2020, there were smaller caravans of flowers that will tour the neighborhoods of Medellín from November 1 to 5.  In 2021 this flower parade will be held at Atanasio Girardot Stadium.

A beautiful monumental silleta from the 2018 parade

A beautiful monumental silleta from the 2018 parade

Normally in the past there were bleachers along one side of the parade route where you can buy tickets for seats, otherwise you will need to stand.

Tickets for the Flower Parade normally sell out quickly each year, as there is a limited number. Tickets were on sale for 2019 on the Ticket Express website but were sold out in the first week in August.  You could use a credit card or debit card to buy tickets online.

In 2020, Desfile de Silleteros was held in Santa Elena on November 8 and is closed to the public and broadcast on the social networks of the Medellín Mayor’s Office and on Telemedellín, the local TV channel.

Carrying a traditional silleta

Carrying a traditional silleta

Carrying another traditional silleta

Carrying another traditional silleta

This parade is considers a one of a kind parade where paisas of all ages carry flower displays on their backs, for hours. Everyone from small children to women and men in their 50s and 60s can be seen carrying the flowers. In addition to silleteros there are dancers as well in the parade. You also will see all ages participating in the parade.

All ages participate

All ages participate

The flower arrangements are made at the nearby pueblo of Santa Elena. And they are entered in a competition in various categories. In addition, there are many commercial displays, which are advertisements made of flowers. These arrangements can also reach up to 170 pounds.

Dancers with colorful dresses

Dancers with colorful dresses

History of Desfile de Silleteros (Flower Parade)

The tradition of silleteros has its roots back in the 19th century when people in the rural areas in Antioquia used these silletas (chair-like) devices to carry the sick and elderly.

Santa Elena flower growers were the first to use the silleta to carry flowers, vegetables and herbs to market in Medellín. And they used the silleta to take food and household items they bought in Medellín back to their homes.

The first Feria de las Flores, or flower festival, reportedly took place in Medellin in May 1957. It was organized by Arturo Uribe, a member of the Board of the Office of Development and Tourism. And the idea behind this event was to help promote the flower industry in Colombia. Colombia is the second largest flower exporting country in the world after Holland.

The first festival in Medellín lasted for five days with an exposition of flowers displayed in the Catedral Basílica Metropolitana. In addition, the first silleteros parade took place with about 40 men from Santa Elena carrying on their backs flower arrangements to the exposition site

The following year in 1958, the month of the festival was changed to August. This was done to celebrate the independence of Antioquia. Over the next 61 years, additional events were added to the festival, which increased the duration to the current 10 to 11 days.

The crowded bleachers

The crowded bleachers

The bleachers are crowded for the flower parade, as seen in the above photo. Due to coronavirus, in 2020 this parade will be closed to the public and only viewable on television or online.

Colorful silletas from the 2017 parade

Colorful silletas from the 2017 parade

Other Expat Tips for 2021 Feria de las Flores

Here are nine expat tips for Feria de las Flores 2021 based on previous years and updated for 2021:

  1. Wear a face mask at all times and socially distance yourself from others.
  2. Register for events online (we haven’t yet found a link).
  3. Watch your belongings. Unscrupulous people take advantage and commit crimes. Take particular care with smart phones, which are the most commonly stolen items in Medellín. See our article about security for more safety tips.
  4. Attend events with comfortable clothes. It can be hot so dress appropriately.
  5. Bring an umbrella, you never know when it may rain in Medellín.
  6. Use public transport such as buses, taxis and the Medellín Metro system to get to events, as parking is limited.
  7. Remember there are trained personnel at all the events for emergencies.
  8. You should carry your ID with you – your cedula if you have one or a copy of your passport.
  9. Avoid consuming alcohol in excess.

Top Things to See and Do in Colombia

On the Medellin Guru website, we have been looking at some of the most beautiful places in Colombia in a series of top things to see and do in Colombia. This is due to many readers asking about several of these things to do in Colombia.

We have looked at 20 of the top things to see and do in Colombia, in alphabetical order:

  1. Caño Cristales – the most beautiful river in Colombia, which has also been called the most beautiful river in the world by some people.
  2. Carnival in Barranquilla – the second largest carnival in the world.
  3. Cartagena – Oozing history, romance and sun-drenched beaches, the allure of historical Cartagena is hard to resist.
  4. Ciudad Perdida – the site of an ancient city in Colombia that is older than Machu Picchu in Peru.
  5. Colombia’s Pacific coast – often overlooked by tourists visiting Colombia but offering untamed nature and undiscovered beauty that is off the beaten path for most foreign tourists.
  6. Desierto de la Tatacoa – the second largest arid zone in Colombia is Tatacoa Desert, which has surreal desert landscapes and some of the best stargazing in Colombia.
  7. Guatapé – a picturesque pueblo near Medellín known for its huge rock and lake. And it’s likely the most visited pueblo in Colombia by foreigners.
  8. La Guajira Peninsula – one of the most visually stunning places in South America, which is located on the northern tip of Colombia where the desert meets the sea.
  9. Las Lajas Sanctuary – the most beautiful church in Colombia, which has also been called the most beautiful church in the world.
  10. Medellín’s Christmas lights – Medellín’s annual world-class Christmas lights known as Alumbrados Navideños.
  11. Medellín’s Feria de Las Flores – Medellín’s world-famous flower festival each year.
  12. Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados – a popular national park in Colombia located in the heart of the Colombian coffee region.
  13. Parque Tayrona – known for its beautiful beaches and the world’s highest coastal mountain range.
  14. Popayán – a colonial gem in Colombia best known for its white buildings and churches, it’s a city off the beaten path for foreign tourists but is definitely worth visiting.
  15. Rio Claro Nature Reserve – located about three hours from Medellín, Rio Claro is the perfect place to unplug from hectic daily life and enjoy a picturesque crystal-clear river, canyon and tropical rainforest.
  16. Salento and the Cocora Valley – Salento is a picturesque pueblo in Colombia’s coffee region and the nearby Cocora Valley is one of the most striking landscapes found in Colombia.
  17. San Agustín Archaeological Park – the largest group of pre-Columbian monuments and megalithic statues in South America and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  18. San Andrés – Colombia’s Caribbean island which is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve featuring many beaches, islets and coral reefs that are filled with flora and fauna.
  19. San Gil – Colombia’s adventure capital that is full of things to do including white water rafting, paragliding, caving, rappelling, hiking and much more.
  20. San Jose del Guaviare – a hidden gem and eco-tourism location off the beaten path and offering wildlife watching, jungle trekking and delving into Colombia’s prehistoric past.

Also, we included Feria de las Flores in our list of the top 20 tourist attractions in Colombia.

Monumental silletas from the 2018 Feria de las Flores

Monumental silletas from the 2018 Feria de las Flores

The Bottom Line: 2021 Feria de las Flores – the Medellín Flower Festival

The three big headliner events during Feria de las Flores each year are normally the classic car parade, the flower parade and the big Súper Concierto. This year in 2021 there is no classic car parade and no Súper Concierto.

The bottom line is the Feria de las Flores in 2021, the main event, the flower parade will be in the big soccer stadium with limited access.

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Editors note: updated on July 18, 2020 with information that Feria de las Flores for 2020 has been rescheduled to November 2 to 8.

Editors note: updated on October 16, 2020 with detailed information about for revised format of Feria de las Flores for 2020 with the 2020 schedule.

Editors note: updated on October 27, 2020 to add a list of five malls where antique cars will be on display during the flower festival and added link to a PDF of the full schedule.

Editors note: updated on October 31, 2020 to add more details about the 2020 Feria de las Flores and added links to mobile apps for the Flower Festival.

Editors note: updated on July 30, 2021 to add dates for the 2021 Feria de las Flores – official schedule is not yet available. Article will be updated when official schedule is available.

Editors note: updated on August 7, 2021 with information about the schedule for Feria de las Flores 2021.

Editors note: updated on August 9, 2021 to add a link to the official schedule for Feria de last Flores.

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