The Battle of Flowers marks the end of the July Festival in Valencia. Tons of the carnations and fancy floats bring the festival to a colorful climax.
Chrysanthemums cover the street , which is irresistible to locals and tourists. Under the sunset glow, there is a mesmerizing brilliance in this sea of flowers.
“I work with floats,” said Antonio Sanchez, who was born in Valencia and designs floats for a living. “I bring floats all over Spain. Sanchez owns his own factory at Calle de Carloz and has won the best designed float at the Battle of the Flowers three times.
On Friday afternoon, a day before the event, Sanchez is too busy to start even a short conversation. He stands at the center of his factory. He keeps his eyes on every worker to check each part of the float. After that, he puts one big part on a cart to go outside and color it. The factory has a very high roof. Paint and foam are stocked everywhere. Flowers are placed in different buckets by color. The sun beams on his sweating face. Sanchez does not talk much. Instead, he focuses on the work.
Sanchez, 60, works with his son in the family business. His father first built floats for Battle of Flowers in 1950. As a son, Sanchez regards this event as a competition which can help him gain fame for the town. He won the first place in this event the last three years.
As a father, he teaches his son how to design and build the floats. As a husband, he encourages his wife to participate in the decoration. As a craftsman, he is confident and persistent. Flowers, Sanchez said, represent the youth of Valencia.
“This comes from my family. We are three generations, my father did this, then I kept on doing it and now my son will go on doing. I want to win on Sunday. It is my territory!”