Yipao Festival in Calarcá

Calarcá, Quindío, Colombia, June 2008


Calarcá, on the outskirts of Armenia, is the home of Colombia's Fiesta Nacional del Café. The two highlights of the National Coffee Festival are the choosing of the Reina Nacional del Café (Coffee Queen), and the massive Yipao parade honoring the Willys Jeep's role in the coffee and other agricultural industries of the area. (See a map of Colombia, 250K JPEG).

Yipao festivals are a Colombia tradition that seems to be not only surviving, but increasing in popularity, and here are some photos by Adrian Cardona Florez of the June 2008 event in Calarcá. Click any of the photos for a larger copy (200K JPEG.)

The parade is a contest with four main categories, one of which North Americans would probably call the "Beverly Hillbillies" category: Jeeps are loaded with household and farm items, and even family members, as if they were moving to a new house.

High hood head
Many of the same traditional items are usually there, such as the TV, clock, phonograph, and portrait of Jesus. But this entry has an unusual touch; please tell me the head on the front isn't real.

Bicycles and guitars are a couple of fun things that add interest without a great deal of weight in the house moving category, but this entry is also carrying quite a few people and items of furniture.

Talk about moving house -- this entry is doing it literally. There is a freestyle category which allows the Jeep to be carrying just about anything, demonstrated in this 2005 photo from Calarca.net.

Perhaps the most popular category is the one in which the vehicles are loaded with the produce of the region: coffee, bananas, citrus fruits, and more. This one is carrying so much it requires some navigators to help the driver.

2006 Crowd
This photo shows the kind of crowds attracted by Yipao, and also reveals that some Willys station wagons and other classic vehicles besides flatfenders get in on the act.

Dance floor
Not sure what this entry represents exactly, but since everybody's dressed up it kind of looks like a dance.

On the other hand, these guys look like they've come straight in from the field, and even brought quite a bit of the field with them.

Looks like a reader of CJ3B.info cleaning out his garage. This 2005 photo would be another freestyle entry.

Count the oranges. Here's a classic example of the agricultural produce category. Almost hard to believe these Jeeps can keep their front wheels on the ground.

3B 38
Oh yeah. The pique contest is about piling the Willys with an 1800 kilogram (2 ton) payload carefully positioned to make the vehicle lean backwards and advance in a straight line on two wheels for the longest possible distance.

Do not try this at home. Or anywhere else. This is not approved by CJ3B.info unless you are a Colombian yipero.

Here are a couple more 2005 photos from Calarca.net that I had to include. This one looks like a good solution to the balance problem -- as long as there are no corners to turn.

This shot puts you right into the action, and shows the relationship of man and machine which has made the Willys Jeep so beloved in the coffee country of Colombia.

2013Believe it or not, the guy hanging off the front bumper here, while the Jeep spins in a circle, is the driver. See a video clip of this stunt from the 2013 Yipao in Calarcá, on YouTube.

Thanks to Adrian Cardona Florez and Calarca.net for the photos, and to Jaime Arenas and Francisco Botero for the pointers. Map of Colombia courtesy Geology.com. I think Colombia has to be the next field trip for CJ3B.info. -- Derek Redmond

Return to Jeeps in Colombia or see more Willys Event Reports on CJ3B.info.

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Last updated 3 November 2013 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond