Since 1936, the first Sunday of September has seen the streets of a small Netherlandish town transform into a stage for elaborate, flower-festooned floats. The Corso Zundert is an annual tradition on Vincent Van Gogh‘s hometown of Zundert, with the flower parade drawing huge crowds to see the spectacular floats.
Adorned only with dahlias, the parade pits 20 different neighborhoods against one another, as they hope to win the top prize in the public vote. The event is entirely volunteer driven, with the year long preparations—from dahlia cultivation to construction—bringing together the community. The tradition draws in all generations, with senior members of the community typically tending to the gardens, while the younger generation does the heavy lifting in putting together the colorful floats, which are covered with thousands of flowers.
Throughout the summer each hamlet works on their float, with tents erected in May or June as volunteers work to perfect their float. The flowers are the finishing touch. Since they must be fresh, the dahlias are put in place just three days before the event, with workers racing around the clock to make sure each area of the float is covered.
The winning float from the 2017 parade comes from the Schijf hamlet, with its float of a figure reclining on a chair carried by volunteers. The victory was a first for the neighborhood, after coming in third several times. Let’s take a closer look at this year’s parade and the fabulous flower floats.