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Carnival history

The history of the Flower Carnival dates back to the beginning of the last century: in September 1900 the Debreczen Civil Bicycle Association organised a bicycle competition on the association’s new field. The highlight of the competition – reported the newspaper of the age – was a large-scale flower corso.

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The history of the Flower Carnival dates back to the beginning of the last century: in September 1900 the Debreczen Civil Bicycle Association organised a bicycle competition on the association’s new field. The highlight of the competition – reported the newspaper of the age – was a large-scale flower corso. This picture in which a young man with a moustache stands holding a bicycle decorated with flowers must have been taken then. Five years later in 1905 the Debrecen Ambulance Association organised an other flower corso in the town’s main street in order to collect money for an ambulance car since in the town that time when somebody had an accident, it took much time to find a doctor. Since 1966 apart from some breaks the Flower Carnival has been held every year in Debrecen on 20th August. In the beginning only Hungarian groups participated, after a few years foreign groups were also invited. Now the carnival is a spectacular event with beautiful flower cars and dance groups coming from Debrecen, her sister cities and other countries as well. The carnival is increasingly popular and is the most visited event of the city. Carnival time the number of Debrecen’s population is doubled. In 2009 the Debrecen Flower Carnival celebrated its 40th anniversary. On this occasion recalling the beginnings a bicycle parade was held and a sun-dial made of 40 thousand flowers was set up in Baltazár Dezső Square.


Preparations
The organisers start preparing months before the carnival, the cars’ decoration starts 2-3 weeks before the event. In the first years only fresh flowers were used, recently the use of dry flowers has increased. For the decoration of a flower car as many as 150-250 thousand fresh flowers are used depending on the subject. Traditionally firms and companies finance the cars, usually 15-16 a year, for which 3 million flowers are used altogether. The first car is always the Hungarian Holy Crown, then come the other compositions with the scenes of popular tales.


The parade
The carnival starts at 8 a.m. in Petőfi Square and goes through the city on a 5 km long route up until the Nagyerdei Stadium. Between the spectacular flower cars the invited dance groups and bands entertain the public. The parade arrives at the stadium at around 10 a.m. where the cars and the performers go around showing their best to the audience and the jury who awards the most beautiful cars and the best groups later the day. After the parade in the afternoon visitors can take a closer look at the flower cars and watch the performance of the groups in the stadium. The flower cars and the performers march through the city again in evening but this time on a shorter route. Fireworks and a street party close the carnival at night. During the day on 20th August other colourful carnival programmes are held on several locations of the city. The parade is for free standing by the streets. Tickets are available for street grandstands (Piac Street, Hunyadi Street, Egyetem Avenue) and in the Nagyerdei Stadium.


The route of the parade
Petőfi Square - Piac Street - Kossuth Square - Hatvan Street - Bethlen Street - Hunyadi Street - Péterfia Street - Bem Square - Simonyi Road - Nagyerdei Boulevard - Gyulai István Athletics Stadium

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