When you arrive at Funchal harbor you have a view magnificent view over Funchal city and its crooked streets that go down the mountain
«Roses are red, violets are blue…and the Flower Festival darling, is waiting for you.»
It is the end of March and a new season has arrived: the charming Spring of the flowers. And as soon as the Autumn is leaving, the cotton jackets and scarfs turn into floral dresses and skirts. And just on purpose, what else does one need to enjoy the encharms of this new season and its attractions? This year, as well as all the others, since 1954, we celebrate (between 19th April to 6th May), another Madeira Flower Festival. A cultural event, very famous because of its incredible flower carpets that during days covers the city paths.
The main idea of this celebration comes from long ago when we started understanding that the local farmers offered much of their daily living to the cultivation of flowers and, therefore, beautiful species exhibition-worthy resulted as a proof of their effort. Later, the most beautiful flowers were rewarded. As the idea was growing the tourism of Madeira decided to turn the attraction into a big event composed by many attractions which is the case of the Wall of Hope, the Flower Parade, the Madeira Auto Parade and more flower decorations, and so on fulfilled with entertainment by the regional folklore groups representing the traditional music and dance.
The highest moment, is the huge Flower Parade, taking place this year at 4 pm, sunday, april 22th. This show is particularly charming because of the floats covered with flowers and the dancers, mostly children, parading covered with handmade floral costumes.
Orlando Vieira, 39 years old, corporate body of the ANIMAD organization, help us to understand how the backstage of the most charming attraction of all times works.
Established by Natália Vieira and António Rosa, September 11th of 2011, ANIMAD (MADEIRA & ANIMALS), supports their aim in the animal focus thus they entered the showbiz to earn funds to support pets in need.
This year, for the 4th time in a row, they attend the Flower Festival Parade with the chosen theme – Clássica. Orlando explains that after the Carnival uproar, named Heróica (EN: Heroic) aiming the victory of women in the fight for equal rights, it’s time for Clássica to represent their rest after the victory.
Clássica, promises a role focused on “offering a quality product, which is the Madeira product”, helping it become “a destination more recognized by its quality and worthy of the awards that have been getting”.
ANIMAD at the Flower Festival Parade 2017
By talking with Orlando, we discovered that the hundreds of smiles, the carefully tailored dresses and the selection of the most beautiful flowers are challenges of “pulling the hair out” derived from the tough logistic management they require, “both human resources and the handling of materials “. This process, which takes approx. 6 months of preparation, counts with a small team of “4/5 people, such as choreographers, the person in charge of the construction of the floats, decoration”, and so on., but pointing that “ANIMAD will only make it, thanks to the dedication and hardwork of a total of 110 people” whom he affectionately names as “family”. However, he recognizes that the most difficult is to “manage people, understanding that they all have different ideas and desires”, preserving at first place “equality, courtesy, and, essentially, respect for the one another and nature around.”
Aware to the details, Orlando assumes that when it comes to creating and “giving wings to the imagination”, he pays special attention to the minor details and what one may think is simple might be for other much more complex because “it requires a whole visual thinking: aesthetic, color analysis, color tests, the concern of the television image, the photographic image”, among others. Working since October, the gross of the time is dedicated to the clothing tailoring and they work “almost 24 hours a day, because even outside the atelier, the homework, researching of ideas, the creative process itself” requires a lot of dedication.
In general, the participation in the parade is of free will and from a spontaneous candidacy in good time. On Sundays, March and April, the training sessions take place and there the “characters who embody this project” practice a choreography to the sound of a melody.
At last, we are honored by the charms of Flora, which comes to us freely and lightly, with a thousand and one smiles, a lot of glamor and a floral aroma, in a delicate parade that brings thousands of visitors annually to Madeira.
In fact, the legend says that «Madeira is a garden, Madeira is a garden, like no other, like no other, its charm is endless, its charm is endless…».
This is worth living!
Flower Exhibition, Workshops and entertainment downtown Funchal – April 19th to May 6th
Wall of Hope – April 21st
Flower Festival Parade – April 22nd
Madeira Auto Parade – April 29th
Music shows “o som das flores” (the sound of the flowers) – May 6th
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