"Bloemencorso Zundert" showcases marching bands, floral floats
They may not have the name recognition enjoyed by the Tournament of Roses
Portland Rose Festival
, but flower parades in European countries produce amazingly creative
entries enhanced by a dose of theatre.
One of the largest events is put on by the 7,500 citizens of Zundert, a cozy town in the Netherlands just 20 miles north of Antwerp, Belgium. The
(Zundert Flower Parade) originated in 1936 and is held annually on the first Sunday of September.
Neighborhood associations such as Buurtschap Tiggelaar
Buurtschap Den Heikant
design, build and decorate the floats which are covered with up to 500,000 dahlia blooms.
Each association grows its own flowers in huge community gardens.
"Parade fever" consumes the town, so winning first prize in the float competition carries unparalleled bragging rights. Friendly rivalries have pushed the designers
to new heights of creativity; the 2005 "people's choice" winner wowed the crowd with body-painted performers integrated into the float design. Floats commonly include
live music and costumed performers marching in front of the float.
Marching bands are well-represented, too. The 2006 lineup in Zundert included nine bands from France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Music is key throughout the day with small ensembles entertaining
the crowd prior to the parade.
The Zundert Flower Parade is a source of extreme community pride, along with another claim to fame: Zundert was the birthplace of Vincent van Gogh.
For more information about flower parades in Europe, visit Bloemencorso.com
which provides links to parades and neighborhood groups
that build floats. Most websites are written in each country's native language but some offer English versions (look for a British flag icon to enter the English version). Some of the events featured
include Bloemencorso Loenhout (Belgium)
and the unique
Fruitcorso te Tiel (Netherlands)
where floats are covered with fruit and vegetables rather than flowers.
Photo courtesy of Bloemencorso Zundert.
Copyright 2006 Marching.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published or redistributed without permission.
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