Monday, February 8, 2010

105. Fantasmagoria on Wheels: CARNIVAL FLOATS, III

San Miguel Beer reproduced its building led by a man made of beer cans on the float. Real beer flowed out of the castle, drank by real men. An America, Charlie Heffting rode in front with a large Dutch stein to catch the beer.

Kuenzle and Streiff showed the Swiss Alps with fat cows on pine tree-lined pasture.

La Perla had pillars of biscuits and stars showing the three regions of the Philippines. The band of musicians had biscuits pasted on their uniforms.

Watson Soda had a large siphon, with soda water bubbling out of it.

Walk-Over Shoes showed the sign of satisfaction, with elegant columns supporting it.

John Gibson Sawmill Co. had a fine dressing table made of rough-hewn logs, a fine interpretation of its theme: “From Forest to Finished Products”. It garnered First prize in the commercial float category.

El Renacimiento had a Perseus cutting off the head of Medusa, referring to the victory of the Sun Hero over the tempests.” This float came in 2nd in the “Most Artistic” category.

Curiously, the parade ended with a carromata, which had a friar and a lady talking to each other inside. In all, 40 floats participated in the program, seen by 25,000 people, that ended at 11 p.m.
The parade spectacle would be repeated in the next editions of the Carnival. At the specially named Magallanes Carnival of 1921, the 2nd parade was dedicated to the navigator, Ferdinand Magellan. The Magallanes Commission even made the parade more elaborate wit the production of 2 pageants that depicted Philippine and Spanish life in the 16th century. To entice participants, the Carnival Association offered 20 magnificent prizes for the most artistic floats, most original float, most humorous floats and the best historical float.

As more and more cars became available in our Islands, the Carnivals of the late 1920to the 30s popularized the Floral Parade. Automobiles bearing the Carnival muses were decorated profusely with flowers in the Old World and American tradition. As the vehicles traveled the parade route, the people who lined up the streets were encouraged to throw flowers at the Carnival beauties; in turn, the ladies threw back flowers at the excited crowd.

Carrozas and floats continued to be part of the great Carnival tradition till the very last, but the later conceptions could not quite match the grandeur and splendor of those made during the early editions of the Carnival, particularly the very first.

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