Paper windmill, Ruas Floridas 2013

Impressive paper displays at Ruas Floridas in Redondo, Portugal

Every two years, the white-walled Alentejan town of Redondo becomes awash with colour and creativity during the Ruas Floridas (Flowered Streets) festival. Don’t be fooled by the name; there much more to this event than paper flowers. The forty-three participating streets are filled with themed displays ranging from football to fairground rides, all made from paper.

I had no idea just how inventive and intricate some of the decorations would be until I got there. To give you just a taste of the craftsmanship and imagination that has gone into the 2013 festival, here are some of my favourite images. If you can get to Redondo before Ruas Floridas 2013 ends on 11th August, I’m sure you’ll be just as impressed as I was. If not, put the date in your diary for 2015.

A canopy of green and blue tissue paper above a street decorated with paper toadstools and catapillars

Each street had row upon row of colourful streamers cut out of tissue paper. They provided welcome shade, dramatic colour and a wonderful rustling sound as they fluttered in the breeze.

Paper tea set and cakes, Alice in Wonderland,  Ruas Floridas, Redondo 2013

Time for tea? Part of the Alice in Wonderland collection. Everything from the teapot to the icing on the cake is made from paper.

Red and white toadstool made from coloured tissue paper forming the entrance to a decorated street.

The Smurfs had a street to themselves, too.

Colourful steam train with a happy face, all made from paper

This cheerful train is part of the Feira Popular (fairground) display. Fancy a ride?

A tissue paper-covered board depicting a green-trimmed window with flower pots either side

A typical Alentejan window complete with paper flowers in their pots.

Pink and purple cockerel head and body with more paper decorations further down the street.

My favourite street is full of double-sided Barcelos cockerels and Minho hearts, each side has different patterns and colours.

Paper donkey and water fountain

The attention to detail in Almocreve street is impressive. It even extends to donkey poo!

Paper figurine of a man collecting grapes in a tall basket.

This street is dedicated to the story of wine, from the vines to the bottle. This section shows the grape harvest in paper.

Embroidered handkerchief made of paper with colourful words and pictures of flowers

Lenços are traditional embroidered handkerchiefs with messages of love and friendship. The embroidery on this is made from twisted strings of paper.

Paper dress and crochet as part of a themed street decoration

Boutique Vintage street is full of sequinned paper stilettos, jewelled boxes and a couple of gorgeous paper dresses. Even the crochet trim is made from paper.

Tips and extra information:

I visited during the day when the streets were relatively quiet, except for the party music being piped through speakers in the street. I was grateful for the shade from the tissue paper canopies but you still need a hat and sunscreen for daytime visits.

At night, I’m sure the music gets louder as the streets fill with people and the many beer stands will develop queues. There’s also a programme of entertainment including live bands and street theatre most evenings during the festival.

Although the streets are blocked to traffic, there’s plenty of parking space on the outskirts of town.

Entry to the decorated streets is free! Given the amount of work and materials that have gone into creating all the displays, I was amazed there was no charge. You should consider buying a paper flower as a souvenir as the proceeds will help the local economy and charitable groups. They start at 1 euro a piece.

For more information about Ruas Floridas 2013 and a downloadable programme, visit Redondo council website (in Portuguese).

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