The Jakarta Post
Thousands of domestic and foreign tourists crowded Tomohon's main streets, North Sulawesi, on Saturday to watch the fanfare of the Tournament of Flowers, a display of cultural diversity.
Twenty-seven decorated floats participated in the parade, which started from the former Rindam Square in Kakaskasen subdistrict, North Tomohon district, and ended at Babe Palar Square in Walian subdistrict, South Tomohon district, covering 3 kilometers.
Marc Sven, a visiting British tourist, expressed excitement at watching the parade, the main feature of the five-day Tomohon International Flower Festival (TIFF) 2015, which started on Friday.
'I have been to the parade of decorated floats in Pasadena, the US. What we have here is equal and even more beautiful. The mixture between decorated vehicles and traditional arts is very attractive to watch,' Sven said.
Each of the participating floats presented different designs, with entire floats being covered in flowers of various colors.
Of the participating floats, six were presented by foreign countries. The US float displayed a model of Mount Rushmore with its carved sculptures of former American presidents.
India presented the Taj Mahal monument and Ganesha statue with a singer belting out Kuch Kuch Hota Hai while Poland featured its symbolic mermaid figures.
The Philippines presented its national flower, the jasmine, while France featured the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe with nine princesses.
Besides the floats, the festival also presented Saturday a parade of cultural performances, including North Sulawesi's Kabasaran dance, Batu city's Sapi-sapian dance and Ambon's traditional music of Maluku.
Other presentations included a clothing carnival depicting flower designs and marching bands presented by Tomohon schools.
North Sulawesi Governor Sinyo H. Sarundajang expressed his highest appreciation to the administration and people of Tomohon for organizing the event.
He likened it to the dream of Charles F. Holder who initiated the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena. Before, he said, Pasadena was not famous but had flowers. Now with flowers, Pasadena had become a famous tourist destination.
'Tomohon is famous for its flowers. It has initiated a parade of vehicles decorated with flowers that helps empower the people's economy. We hope this event will be continuously developed so it will become more beautiful and merrier in the future,' Sinyo said.
Tomohon Mayor Jimmy Eman said the floats were becoming more and more attractive and beautiful since the first TIFF was held in 2008.
The TIFF was earlier held biannually, but became an annual event starting last year. This year's event was the fifth.
Jimmy said the event also aimed to empower flower farming and related businesses such as restaurants, accommodations and small eateries.
'All the flowers used in the event were bought from farmers in Tomohon. They can directly feel the impacts of the event on them,' Jimmy said.