Parking in nearby beach tourist town, Laredo, is really a nightmare in July and August, especially for those of us that go there year round. But never is the parking problem worse than on the last Friday of August, when Laredo hosts their famous Batalla de Flores (Flower Battle), a parade of floats with 100% real flowers. So this year we came up with a parking strategy.
I've been walking a lot lately, so we decided that I would drive the car to Laredo in the morning, park it as close to the downtown parade site as possible, and then walk back home. I took Nora with me since she isn't any extra work on walks (when bribed with cookies), but she is a handful to care for around the house. Then, at 17:00, we set out walking to Laredo. Immediately the sky began to look ominous, and about halfway there, it began to rain. We managed to find a little shelter and soon the rain slowed and then stopped. We got there late for the initial lap (for the judges to see the floats), but we caught the entire second lap (for the awards to be given) and a little of the third lap (for the awards to be paraded, literally, around the town). Watching the Batalla de Flores reminds me of going to an art museum; the first few pieces you see and really focus on totally blow your mind with the creativity and skill with which they were created, and then every piece after that is like "Oh, look, another one... Meh!" The dedication and time and energy and teamwork to put one of these floats together, with the flowers added the day before the parade to keep them fresh, is truly to be respected. It seems that every year there is an oriental float with dragons, a circus float, a marine life float, a musical instrument float, and a float with superheroes or cartoon characters to please the kids. In addition to the prize for the best float, there is a prize awarded for the dresses and costumes of the adolescents standing in or on the floats. This year, the same float (I can't remember which one) won both first place prizes.
Here are some photos I took with my phone. I chose not to make the effort with the real camera. I think I might be falling into the rut with the locals that actively avoid such festivals because once you've seen it one year, you don't really have to go again. Hopefully my daughter will keep my eyes fresh.
You can see the slideshow larger here.
Here's a short video of Nora watching the action. She very much liked the colorful floats, but very much disliked the emcee that came on the loudspeaker abruptly, making us both jump.
I suppose we'll probably go for the next few years, when Nora will be excited to see the flowers, and then never again.