Monkey van Westhoek crowns himself king of the 70th Flower Parade Loenhout: “Phenomenally beautiful” (Wuustwezel)

Today, for the seventieth time, it was time to look forward to the floral splendor of the 32 parade floats big and small that colored the streets of Loenhout. Under a brilliant sky, ‘den Huffel’, as they popularly call the square there, was completely full.

In front of the grandstand at the church, the baby carriages passed first, then the junior and flower carriages, to reach a climax with twelve large parade floats. After a first passage at 2 p.m., the points were shared.

20,000 spectators and a full grandstand witnessed a beautiful anniversary edition of the flower procession. © Robin Fasseur

These were also distributed during the second round at 4 p.m. In addition to a professional jury, the public and the children were also allowed to present their favourite. The cars with the best animation also won prizes.

Among the children, ‘Hollebolle Gijs’ from the village of Zuidhoek took first place. ‘Corso Fever’ was the most popular among the junior cars. This was the result of a corovirus that had escaped from the laboratory in the village of Notelaar Kids.

Dia de los muertos from Westhoke Youth town won in the Flower Cars category.

Dia de los muertos from Westhoke Youth town won in the Flower Cars category. © Robin Fasseur

Deserved winner

The professional jury awarded ‘Dia de los muertos’ from Westhoek Youth Hamlet with the first prize in Flower Wagons. The small village was awarded this honor for the second time because their large parade car ‘Customer is king’ won the top prize.

Also according to the children’s jury that first place was deserved, the public put the monkey in second place. The various cakes moving on the tables in front of the king monkey were good for the second prize animation.

Minister Annelies Verlinden thought the cars were phenomenally beautiful.  She participated in the flower parade for the first time.

Minister Annelies Verlinden thought the cars were phenomenally beautiful. She participated in the flower parade for the first time. © Robin Fasseur

“There were many beautiful cars, but ‘The customer is king’ is a deserved winner”, says minister Annelies Verlinden. “The monkey is not only large, but also seems complex to make. It’s a real shame that only one car can win.”

It was the first time that the minister participated in the Loenhout Flower Parade. She did so at the invitation of fellow party member and mayor Dieter Wouters van Wuustwezel. “Unfortunately, this is the first time I live not so far from here. But it is phenomenally the ephemeral art. It also doesn’t seem obvious to me to keep the flowers cool and process them”, she praises the efforts in the various villages.

“A big day like this is also very nice to experience. It’s nice to see how happy it makes people.”

Jens Cools, Pieter Meeusen and Sven Goos came up with the winning design for the village of Westhoek.

Jens Cools, Pieter Meeusen and Sven Goos came up with the winning design for the village of Westhoek. © Elke Lamens

Drying experiment

The designers and volunteers from the village of Westhoek were of course very happy. Jens Cools, Sven Goos and Pieter Meeusen came up with the theme and drew it out. It is their third joint design. “We already achieved second place with our pig. Last year we finished in eighth place with our design. This time we have included all the good and working points in the design”, they say.

And that it has worked. The theme, which they already started from in May, was to play monkey in a restaurant. Sven is active in an industrial kitchen, Jens is a chocolatier and Pieter is a plumber. Have they ever played the monkey in a restaurant? “That’s enough,” they laugh.

“The big challenge was to depict this theme. We definitely wanted the audience to understand the concept from the front,” emphasizes Pieter. “We started with a black and white drawing of the monkey. We made a king of that,” continues Jens.

© Robin Fasseur

This was followed by a series of experiments with drying the flowers. “Dahlias are always colorful. But for the monkey’s skin we needed more grays. We dried all colors of dahlias to determine which gave the best slightly browner color to our monkey,” explains Pieter.

The men built a drying room especially for this. “The dahlias are planned for spring and we started drying them in August. It involved a total of around 200,000 flowers,” says Sven.

Great euphoria in the village of Westhoek when it is clear that they have won the parade.

Great euphoria in the village of Westhoek when it is clear that they have won the parade. © Robin Fasseur

It certainly did them no harm. “We always want to make a car that is as beautiful and fun as possible. Creating together is really fun, we have a close neighborhood. But getting first place is definitely the icing on the cake,’ admits the trio, who can now be the monkey with this victory.

(Any lameness)

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