This is Medellin, Where everything flourishes.
What is the Feria de Las Flores?
The Feria de las Flores (Flower Festival) held in Medellin is one of the largest festivals in Colombia, themed around the country’s flower growing culture. Held over 10 days the festival is a combination of parades, music, gastronomy, art, artisanal products and of course a lot of partying.
The information about the Feria de las Flores in 2022 will be discussed below but first a little background.
History Of The Feria De Las Flores
After Netherlands, Colombia is the second largest exporter of flowers in the world, exporting about $1.4 billion dollars of flowers a year, 75% of which are exported to the United States. Most of the flowers are grown in the Antioquia region, of which Medellin is the capital. The cultural epicentre of flower growing is the small town of Santa Elena an easy 40-minute drive from the centre of Medellin.
The Feria de las Flores started in 1957 to commemorate Colombia’s flower growing success. From very humble beginning the flower festival has grown into one of Colombia’s largest festivals with over 30,000 people attending from around the country and overseas. About 60% of visitors to the festival come from other parts of Colombia and the other 40% are international visitors. Despite these numbers the festival still feels pretty much a local affair.
The main event of the festival is the Desfile de Silleteros (explanation in the next section) which is traditionally held on the final day of the festival. Other events include the classic car parade, a Harley Davidson and classic bikes rally, concerts by popular artists, culturally themed musical nights, and a sprinkling of international guests. In addition, there are a multitude of events being held around the city to celebrate the festival which include flower displays, artisan bazaars, cultural displays, art exhibitions, special themed clubbing nights and a load of events that just exist to have fun, listen to good music and get drunk.
What’s a Silletero?
To understand the importance of the festival it’s important to know what a Silletero is since the Desfile de Silleteros (Silleteros Parade) is the pièce de resistance of the festival and showcases what is considered the most historic and cultural symbol of Antioquia.
These days the term Silletero is used to refer to the flower farmers that during the festival make elaborate flower displays and parade them through the streets as can be seen in the final event of the feria. The silleteros are classified with the status “Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Nation” highlighting them as an important cultural symbol that should be classified and protected for future generations.
The name Silletero comes from the word Silla, which means chair in Spanish. The history of the Silletero in Colombia dates back to the early 20th Century when a type of seat, called a Silleta (“a small chair”) was mounted on the backs of farmers (various historical reports say this practice started with slaves and indigenous) in order to carry people through difficult terrains. The Silleta was later used to transport goods from farms to markets.
In the case of the Silleteros of Santa Elena they made use of these Silletas to transport their fruits, vegetables and of course flowers through a difficult journey down into the valley of Medellin finally reaching the Placita de Flores (Flower Market). The market opened in 1891 and is still operating today and worth a visit if you want to experience a traditional local market.
During the Feria de las Flores the Silleteros would mount their Silletas with displays of the flowers that they grow on their farms. Over the years these flower displays grew more elaborate and extravagant. There is massive rivalry between the Silleros to see who will be crowed the best Silletero at the final parade of the festival.
At the Feria de las Flores look out for 5 main types of Silletas:
- Traditional Silletas: these are the closest representation to the ones used by the farmers back in the early 20th century. It’s a simple box made of light wood in which a minimum of 15 or more fresh flowers (not artificial, dyed or painted) varieties are displayed.
- Emblematic Silletas: dried flowers are arranged in illustration form with a message allusive to a religious, civil, environment of educational topic.
- Monumental Silletas: these are considered to be an evolution of the traditional Silleta. Characterized for being the largest and most colorful of all the silletas, they consist of at least 20 varieties of fresh flowers and can weigh up to 100kg and be more than 4 meters in diameter.
- Institutional or Corporative Silletas: These are commercially sponsored silletas paid for by large corporations and brands. You can see some of them in the parade but they are not part of the awards process. If you visit Medellin during the feria you will also see many proudly displayed in shopping malls, in offices and restaurants, especially in touristy areas such as Provenza. This is the only type of silleta that allows the use of dyed flowers in order to achieve the required designs.
- Artistic Silletas: these are based on the creativity and imagination of the Silleteros and are often 3D in form, with certain limitations on what materials they can use.
The best way to see the silletas is at the Desfile de Silleteros which is the final event of the Feria de las Flores. During this parade over 500 Silleteros of all ages will be walking the 2.4 kilometre route with their silletas on their backs.
If you can’t make the parade it will be televised on local tv stations and most likely on the facebook page of the Alcaldia de Medellin (Mayors office) and Telemedellin. During the festival you’ll see silletas at many other locations and after the final parade the silletas will be on public display for a few days afterwards.
Feria de las Flores 2022
Medellín will be partying again during the 65th annual Feria de las Flores 2022 (Flower Festival) which takes place from 5 to 15 August 2022. Organized by the Mayor’s office this year’s festival will feature more than 150 public activities, with 13 stages in which 3,200 local, national and international artists will perform. There will be cultural and artistic programming from all over Colombia as well as invited artists from countries such as South Korea and Mexico.
In addition to the official Feria de las Flores events there are also numerous private events including concerts, festivals, cultural events at shopping malls, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. There are literally hundreds of events happening around the city, so even if you’re not attending the parade or other official events, you’re bound to bump into some sort of activity related to the festival.
You can find the complete program on the official website of the Feria de Las Flores 2022. The program is also available to be downloaded here. Although this is the large public event on the Medellin calendar and very popular with tourists, unfortunately the official program is rather confusing, it’s missing detailed information about events, locations, some of the times are incorrect and there is no English translation.
However you can find everything you need to know right here on MedellinColombia.co. For more information and daily updates check out Facebook group THINGS TO DO IN MEDELLIN.
It should be remembered most of the main events will be broadcast by the public television channel Telemedellín and associated facebook pages, including the Silleteros Parade, Classic Car Parade, the Final of the Trova Festival and most of the public musical concerts. If you don’t like crowds, or it’s raining heavy, you can turn on Telemedellin or facebook and see what’s happening at the feria without leaving the sofa.
In addition to the main events of the Flower Fair, this year the festival introduces the Medellín Art Circuit, with more than 20 plastic and visual arts galleries that will have their doors open with special programming. These studios / Galleries are distributed through various area of Medellin including Barrio Colombia, Provenza, Perpetuo Socorro and the Palacio Nacional. The official guide seems to indicate that you need to call them for more information or to book a visit, it’s not clear.
Recommendations: Some of the events have a capacity of up 50,000 people so we recommend taking public transport, especially the Metro, where possible. Be aware that there are pickpockets everywhere, so take the necessary precautions with your personal possessions. Traffic in Medellin will be affected by the feria due to road closures and the number of tourists in town so it may take longer than usual to get taxis, Uber etc. As expected hotel occupation is at 95% during the feria. The drinking hours have been legally extending during the festival so expect more partying and noise during this period.
The following section explains each of the activities broken down into 4 sections
- Official Events
- Official Concert Stages
- Santa Elena Events
- Other Events
1) OFFICIAL EVENTS
Concierto Inaugural (Opening Concert)
Date: Friday 5 August
Time: 4pm to 1am
Location: La 70 (from circular 1 to carrera 43)
Launch concert featuring Colombian artists such as Jessi Uribe, Paola Jara, among others, will perform to an ecstatic crowd of locals and tourists alike. Located along the entire La 70 avenue.
El Ball De Las Flores (Flower Ball)
Date: Friday 12 August
Time: From 4pm to 1am
Location: Hangar – Aeroparque Juan Pablo II
Capacity: 10,000 people
A space of inclusion for the LGTBI+Q community that will be attended by the Spanish Drag Queen Vulcano, winner of the Drag Queen Gala 2022 held during the Carnival of Las Palmas, in the Canary Islands. The stage will close with the presentation of 'Mujeres a la Plancha'.
Full artist lineup: Orus Azul - Dj Luna Gil - Show de Baile Drag - Noches de Fantasía - La Bad Band – Latenaz - Dj Teo López - Dawer X Damper - Drag Vulcano (Islas Canarias) - Mujeres a la Plancha
Desfile De Autos Clásicos (Classic Car Parade)
Date: Saturday 13 August
Time: 10am to 4pm.
Location: Parade starts at the Puente de Guayaquil, travelling 2.4 km along la Avenida del Rio finally reaching Plaza Mayor.
One of the most popular events of the feria, this year 285 vehicles manufactured between 1900 and 1987 will take part in the 20-kilometre route. The cars come from all over Colombia and 140 of them are participating for the first time. One local newspaper suggests that an estimated 800,000 people will attend. The event will be televised on Telemedellin and on facebook.
Desfile Motociclistico (Motorbike Rally)
When: Sunday 14 August
Where: Departs Parque Lleras, Calle 8 (Via Primavera), Calle 10A, Carrera 43A, Av Ferrocarril, Av. Guayabal, Cristo Rey Park, Puente 4 South, Av. Poblado, Calle 10, Parque Lleras
If you like Harley Davidson and the growl of hundreds of motorbikes this event is for you. The starts in Parque Lleras and goes along the street of Pergamino so if you’re out partying in Lleras / Provenza area it’s worth popping down to check out the rally of hundreds of bikes, from modern to classic and the interesting characters who form part of this annual parade.
Desfile De Silleteros (Silletero Parade)
Date: Monday 15 August
Time: 9am to 6pm. Parade starts 2pm
Location: Parade starts at the Puente de Guayaquil, travelling 2.4 km along la Avenida del Rio finally reaching Plaza Mayor. Check the Mayor's facebook, or local media, for confirmation of the parade route the day before.
Cost: FREE (with ticket)
The Desfile de Silleteros is the main event of the festival and is always held on the final day which this year is Monday 15th August. The parade of 520 Silleteros generally lasts for a couple of hours and is recommended you arrive early.
You can watch along the parade route which will be Avenida del Rio or you can apply for FREE entry into the seated palco area (bleachers) which for the first time ever has free entry, but via prior registration.
Registration opens from 8am to 5pm on Wednesday 10th August or until fully allocated. You have to register on the official Feria de las Flores website.
“For the first time the entrance to the palcos (bleachers) of the Silleteros Parade will be free for all citizens. Check that the ID is properly registered because at the time of claiming your ticket, you must take it. Once the registration is finished, the platform will notify if it has been successfully completed. The double pass will only be delivered to the holder of the identity card, and if you do not claim it on the assigned day, you will not be able to attend the Parade,” said the Secretary of Citizen Culture, Álvaro Narváez Díaz.
Tickets will be distributed in order of registration until the available capacity is completed. You can attend the event with children over 5 years old, who will also occupy one of the two assigned places.
To claim the tickets, you must go on Thursday, August 11, between 8am and 5pm, to Feria de Las Flores stand, in Plaza Cisneros (better known as the Parque de las Luces), between the Vásquez and Carré buildings.
The double passes will be delivered only to the holder of the registered ID, on the day and at the times indicated. The assigned location must be respected.
Prior to the Silleteros Parade, the Mayor's Office will give additional recommendations to the attendees.
NOTE: TICKETS WERE FULLY ALLOCATED IN UNDER 10 MINUTES. If you didn't get a ticket to the palco you can still attend.
Gran Concierto De Clausura (Closing Conciert)
Date: Monday 15 August
Time: 5pm to 3am
Location: Estado Atanasio Girardot
Cost: FREE (until stadium is full)
The closing concert features Rafa Pérez, Alkilados, Karen Lizarazo, Peter Manjarrés and the popular ChocQuibtown.
2) OFFICIAL CONCERT STAGES
Escenario Conexión (Connection Stage)
Date: Tues 9 – Sat 13 August
Time: Check daily program above
Location: Parque De Los Deseos
Musical concerts and cultural programs with national and international artists. Every day has a different theme ranging from Ethnic, Gospel, Trova, Traditional, Popular to Electronica. The themes are rather mixed so it really doesn’t matter which day you go, you’ll get to hear a lot of variety at each event.
You’ll find food stands serving Colombian street food. These concerts are always busy, with a good vibe, especially in the evening. Easy way to get there is get the Metro to Estación Universidad (University Station). If you want to make a full day of it, check out Florecer exhibition at the Botanic Garden which is open to 7pm then head to Parque de los Deseos which is a 2 minute walk away.
Tuesday 9th August
Singer Songwriters & Spanish Boleros
Wednesday 10th August
Trova & Mixed Music
Thursday 11th August
Trova & Mixed Music
Friday 12th August
Day: Gospel, Night: Trova & Colombian Music
Saturday 13 August
Escenario Colombia (Colombian Stage)
Date: 11 - 14 August
Time: 2pm to 1am
Location: Ciudad del Río
Concerts and cultural programs with national and international artists. Wide range of gastronomy and shopping opportunities with an emphasis on Colombian-made brands. Displays of silletas.
The event is described as a showcase of the diversity of the country's culture. The program will include cultural samples from different regions of Colombia, Dj Set of different musical genres and international guests. Sounds like a real mixed bag and a great way to pass a couple of hours.
The exact location hasn’t been provided but its usually in the empty lot behind the Museo del Arte Moderno. Whilst you’re there check out the museum, take a stroll through the nearby park or cross the main road to get to the Mercado del Rio, a local restaurant market.
Electronica & VJ
Thursday 11th August
1130am to 1am
Invited Regions: Boyacá & Chocó
Invited Country: South Korea
Friday 12th August
12 noon to 1am
Invited Region: Bucaramanga, Pasto & Putomayo
Saturday 13th August
12 noon to 1am
Invited Region: San Andres
Invited Country: Mexico
Sunday 14th August
12 noon to 1am
Escenario La 70
Date: 5 – 11 August
Time: Starting 7pm
Location: La 70
The program here focuses on more traditional and popular Colombian styles of music including the presentations of Bomby, Paola Jara, Pipe Calderón and the Combo de las Estrellas; there will also be trova shows; presence of DJs such as El Clásico Herrera and 'Yo me Llamo' (Colombian show with singers personating famous artists).
El Parque De Las Flores (Flower Park)
Date: 13 & 14 August
Time: From 12:30pm
Location: Juanes de la Paz Park
This local park located in the north of Medellin, named after Colombian artist Juanes, will feature various artistic programming, from rock, jazz, as well as displays of transformation through art, presumably they mean graffiti.
Fondas De Mi Tierra
Date: Saturday 13 – Monday 15 August
Time: 11am to 1am (until 9pm on Monday)
Location: Aeroparque Juan Pablo II
Cost: 25,000 pesos
The word Fonda in Colombia means a traditional tavern. During the feria there’s a couple of “Fonda” events but the largest and most happening one is the Fondas de mi Tierra which takes over the Aeroparque Juan Pablo II and features 4 different stages with music styles such as Vallenato and Salsa. This is highly recommended if you’re looking for the authentic Colombian party experience. There’s plenty of stands showcasing food from all around Colombia. For quick entry buy your ticket in advance or when you arrive you can sometimes pay someone to jump the line. Get there by taxi or uber but be aware that sometimes it can be a little difficult getting transport afterwards.
3) SANTA ELENA EVENTS
Santa Elena Events
During the 10 days of the Feria de las Flores the Silleteros of Santa Elena open part of their farms to the public give a personal demonstration of the Silletero culture. Most tourists who come for the feria only attend the parades and concerts and do not get to see the behind-the-scenes aspect of the festival, which is a shame as there are a ton of cultural events and things to do in Santa Elena.
Part of the problem is getting transport to Santa Elena and between the different farms. If you have local friends with transport you could ask them to take you for a drive. If that’s not an option you can often find one day tours being advertised at hostels, hotels and on facebook groups. Generally on these tours you’ll take a traditional chiva bus to a particular farm to see how the Silletas are made, eat traditional paisa style lunch, taste the local spirit aguardiente and perhaps have some live music and cultural demonstrations. Most tours will be in Spanish.
You might be able to organise an English tour guide/driver with local tour operators if they have availability.
4) OTHER NOTEWORTHY EVENTS
Feria Florecer, Orchideas, Naturaleza, Tradiciones
Date: Wednesday 10 – Monday 15 August
Time: 9am to 7pm
Location: Jardin Botanico
Cost: $22,000 pesos
Every year the Jardin Botanico puts on a very popular event with some of the best orchid and flower displays you’ll see as part of the festival. Local flower producers compete to see who can put on the best display. There’s music, food and artisanal markets. A fantastic way to pass 3 or 4 hours. If you enjoy the beauty of nature but you’re not into parades, concerts or partying this is the event for you. Highly recommended.
The Kings - El Gran Concierto De La Feria
When: Friday 12 August
Time: Doors open 4pm, show at 7pm, finishes 3am
Where: Estadio Atanasio Girardot
Cost: From 112,000 to 380,000 pesos (presale)
During the feria there is always a couple of stand-out concerts that brings famous latin artists to Medellin. This year the concert feature Don Omar (Puerto Rico) the king of reggaeton, Juan Luis Guerra (Dominican Republic) legendary composer and singer of bachata and merengue. Other artists include Gran Combo De Puerto Rico, Beele, Jorge Celedon & Calibre 50.
Super Concierto De La Feria
When: Saturday 13 August
Time: Doors open 4pm, show 8pm
Where: Estadio Atanasio Girardot
Cost: From 116,000 pesos
If you didn't party too hard with the Kings the night before tonight presents another mega conciert. The well known line-up includes: Marc Anthony, Silvestre Dangond, Jessi Uribe, Blessd, Heber Vargas, Eric Flores, Dekko, DJ Pope y DJ Agudelo 888
Medellin's Shopping Malls
During the feria most of the Centro Comerciales (shopping malls) have some specials events or display to celebrate the flower festival. The top three are:
- cc Santafe – every year this mall covers the central atrium with in a massive flower mural.
- cc El Tesoro - have cultural displays, artisan markets and activities for the whole family
- cc San Diego – features a massive bonsai display.
The event information on this page was obtained from the Alcaldia de Medellin (Mayors office) who are responsible for organising and implementing the Feria de las Flores. Whilst every effort was made to ensure the details on this page are correct inevitably there may be some errors (there were many errors in the official program).
This articles only covers a small portion of the festival that we consider relevant for English speaking tourists. To ensure you kept up to date with the latest information about the Feria please consult the following links.