Last Sunday in Volcan there was a Parada de Flores, or Flower Festival, so Cedo and I went to check it out. We picked up her friend Daisy along the way and headed up the mountain, arriving in Volcan about 10 AM. People were arriving in cars and buses, and lining the main street of Volcan to wait for a parade.
A policeman told us there should be a parade starting shortly since it was scheduled for 10AM. We found a place to sit on the steps in front of some nearby stores. This turned out to be a great spot because there was an overhang for the rain that was to come. We waited.. 10:30… waited some more … 11:00… by 11:20 or so my behind was getting sore and I was restless so I walked down the street to see if I could see the parade getting ready.
I walked quite a ways, almost to the other end of main street but I only saw more people waiting, and I eventually turned around. On the way back I asked a policeman about la parada de flores. He told me that was down another street, and the parade is another event that was coming ahorita (right now).
By the time I got back to my friends it was close to noon. I wasn’t back long when it started to rain, and soon it was raining hard! This is when the first of the parade arrived at our location.
It was a rather slow parade but there were a lot of pretty floats and flowers. One thing would come along and wait for a while, then move on. Sometimes it was a while before the next thing would arrive. A truck or float would stop so everyone could come close and take photos, and maybe the next would be close behind or maybe it would be a ways down the street. Thankfully the rain didn’t last long and though everything was still wet, one could put down the umbrellas and come out from under overhangs.
The band from Chitre marched in this parade, and I noticed something about the Rose Bowl Parade on their drums. I was told that they won the chance to go to the parade, a great honor, so I did some research. Check out this article and this other article. How exciting!! The band won out of 105 bands and is not only the first band from Panama to march in the Rose Bowl Parade, but it is the first from anywhere in Latin America!! There is also a video, a bit long but I really enjoyed watching it. You can see them marching, their half time performance on the field, and a few photos also.
OK, back to Volcan. Here’s some video of the parade we saw on Sunday.
I am very glad that we went in the morning. We headed down the hill after the parade and the road was full of cars coming up to Volcan, bumper to bumper traffic almost all the way to Cuesta de Piedra! Every stopping point and restaurant along the way was overflowing. My friend Hydeé said a coworker went in the afternoon. It took them 3 hours to get there, and when they arrived there wasn’t much to see and do. This is the first year of the event and I’m sure they didn’t expect such a huge turnout. Next year they can be better prepared, but if we go we will definitely go in the morning again. For us, it was a day well spent.