Wanderings on Olas Altas

Bugambilia
or Napoleon?

The bugambilia plant has different names around the world. For example, in Honduras it is named Napoleon, Santa Rita in Argentina and Bolivia. In Puerto Vallarta we are celebrating this international plant from May 9th to May 11th at the second annual Bugambilia Festival.
I had the chance to talk with Kimberly Bennet, 2014 Festival Coordinator. According to Kimberly, everything started when Bob Price from the Vallarta Botanical Gardens researched Floral Festivals around the world that are known economic and tourism generators. As an example, the 100 year old Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC generates $400 million dollars to the local economy. In Medellin, Colombia there is an annual floral festival which began in 1957 as a small local festival, much like the Bugambilia Festival. Today it attracts an array of international visitors. And, my favourite example of the benefits of floral festivals is the story of the Darwin Festival in Darwin, Australia. It began as the Bougainvillea Festival in 1978 after a devastating cyclone had hit the city.
The festival began as a floral festival to promote the beautification of the city. Today, it is an 18 day festival bringing over 200,000 people to the city. Last year, the Vallarta Garden Club, whose mission is to “Beautify and protect the environment through civic planting projects, and educational and horticultural programs, for the enjoyment of the residents and visitors in Puerto Vallarta,” took up the challenge to start the festival in addition to all of the planting of trees and bougainvillea we have accomplished over the last 4 years.
Why in May and not in February, for example?
May is an absolutely beautiful month in Vallarta. The weather is still good, getting warmer, but still pleasant and the flowers are in gorgeous bloom, yet this is the second worst tourism month for the city. Rather than resigning to the slump with the drop off in snowbird visitors, we, like the Folkloric Festival and Restaurant Week organizers believe that we can turn May into a month filled with cultural activities that will draw a new flock of visitors to our city. We are a city based on tourism. If we all pull together and focus on what is magical and beautiful in this city, work to create a beautiful, healthy and culture filled environment, we will wake up one day and realize that there is no longer a high and low season.
Part of the activities and events are in Parque Lazaro Cardenas on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. These events are free to the public. They will have dance and musical performances, a Pet Parade and Contest, face painting for kids and a chance to celebrate Mother’s Day together.
On Saturday night will be a parade from the north end of the Malecon, ending at the park. The Grand Marshall of the parade will be Babe, the Garden Club’s new watering truck followed by numerous organizations from the city including the singing school, Alas, Zumba groups, BICI en Vallarta and special guests from the Jalisco Charro Association.
Guys and girls for more information visit the official website www.BugambiliasFestival.com or follow them on Facebook at Bugambilia Festival
If you know someone or maybe you has an interest in helping now or next year please contact Kimberly at ziggy523@comcast.net I’m ready to enjoy are you? Guys and girls, see you around Olas Altas.