Flower parades are held all
over the world, but the one that takes place in Zundert, the
Netherlands, is extraordinarily artistic. It’s also the largest
parade in the world. Huge floats are made of wire, cardboard and
papier-mache', and entirely covered in dahlias in intricate designs. The
dahlias for grown specifically for the parade, and thousands of them
are required just to cover one float.
The huge floats are made by twenty
different hamlets and each of them consists of hundreds of builders,
aged 1 to 100, who are all equally crazy about the bloemencorso. The
older members of the hamlet are often responsible for planting and
growing the dahlias, while the younger ones build the float in large
temporary tents that are built exclusively for the event.
Building a float for the bloemencorso
is mainly a social event. Builders of all ages work side by side for
over three months to get the float of their hamlet ready on time. It has
to be as perfect as possible in order to win the competition. The
parade itself takes place on the first Sunday of September, but the
members of the hamlets work on their floats all summer. The tents are
put up in May or June and from then on the volunteers put all their
effort in creating the giant artworks. The last three days before the
actual parade are the most stressful.
Because the flowers have to be fresh,
the hamlets can only start applying the dahlias on the floats on the
Thursday before the parade. If necessary, the builders will work day and
night to have their float ready on Sunday.
Most people in Zundert will happily
give up their days off to work on the float. The social cohesion that
comes from building it is very important. A hamlet is like a family
where everyone knows each other and everyone is welcome. After a long
evening working on the float people drink a beer together and most
hamlets organize all kinds of other activities like song contests and