The most important event of Laredo is Batalla de flores, the Battle of flowers, which for over a hundred years takes place on the last Friday of August, and of course, it is not a battle, but a parade of allegorical floats.
The festivity was born in 1908 and as most of the inhabitants were seafarers, the first one was held on the water. It had tremendous success that prompted the local government to make it a tradition. However, they moved it from the water to dry land so even those who did not own a boat could participate.
Preparations begin in the fall, when the teams - las cuadrillas de carrocistas - design a project of their carriage, make an estimate of what they will need to produce it, and then plant it and grow it on their own fields. Once upon a time they used mostly chrysanthemums, roses and hydrangeas, today also dahlias, carnations, magnolias, margaritas, gerberas and marigolds (those yellow and orange flowers that don’t smell very pleasantly).
On the eve of the battle, they pick them up and sort by color; if necessary, they fill some of them with blue, green or turquoise dye. The Magic Night, Noche magica starts. It is the time when the whole cuadrilla gathers and commences with work. In the gigantic hangars, there are already chassis with polystyrene or synthetic cork statues standing. The teams have to "dress" them by morning, by sticking or nailing flower heads in the base. Petals, destined for fine details, are fixed with a special glue made of water and flour, the leaves are stapled. The most important thing is that everything holds together.
Floats should be 6 to 8.5 meters long, 3.5 to 5 meters wide, 5-7 meters high. Paper and plastic are forbidden, only real flowers and leaves are allowed for decoration. They have to cover at least 75 percent of the surface area, so some floats may easily use up to hundred thousand flowers!
The whole city is involved in the preparations, everyone who has two hands, both young and old, helps. There is a struggle with time and agitation in the air, indeed, after many months people will finally see the result of their effort.