There is more than meets the eye on these dazzling parade floats – each one is covered with 500,000 dahlia flowers.
The 81st annual Corso Zundert parade in the little Dutch village of Zundert continued its flowery tradition last week by showcasing 20 awe-inspiring floats.
This year’s winner was Buurtschap Schijf, a volunteer organization whose massive Amazonian sculpture was supported and “worshipped” by 260 costumed participants. It is the first time that Schijf has won first prize, according to the Corso Zundert website.
Citizens of the Netherlands take the parade very seriously, and usually start designing ideas for the wagons immediately after the competition ends – with 363 days to plan for the next celebration.
Between the months of May and August, teams of competing workers construct the frames, and await the feverish scramble the night before the parade, when fresh flowers are finally nailed into place.
“By the First Sunday of September, the fever burns within us,” the Corso Zundert website reads. “Will the moving floats be finished in time? Are there enough dahlias? And who is going to win this time?”
The first Zundert flower parade in 1936 honored Queen Wilhelimina’s birthday, but the ‘parade’ only consisted of a modest bicycle and farmer’s cart. Since the village is known for having over 50 different species of dahlias, the idea of a larger flower parade eventually blossomed.
In order to keep a cap on the competitive craziness, the judges have limited the float size to 62 feet long, 15 meters wide, and 30 feet tall.
Because of its historical significance in the Netherlands, winning the trophy for best float is considered to be one of the greatest honors a Dutch citizen can receive in their lifetime.