Bloemencorso Zundert: Tiger mom and cubs

Photo: Foto van Hassel BV/Wikimedia

On the first Sunday of September, the streets of Zundert, Netherlands are taken over by larger-than-life characters, including tigers, skeletons, owls — even one of the world's most famous wizards!

The spectacular annual event, known as Bloemencorso Zundert, is the largest volunteer-run flower parade in the world.

It takes months of hard work to construct these floats, which are made of metal wire, cardboard, papier-mâché and, of course, flowers (specifically dahlias). The parade is also a competition between 20 nearby communities to make the most extravagant, intricate display. Every year, ambitious participants up the ante. Luckily, each participating hamlet boasts a dedicated gaggle of builders who are willing to dedicate their summers to making their float even better than the last.

What's interesting about Bloemencorso Zundert is that it's not just about the parade. The community-led preparation is just as important than the parade itself — if not more. The building process is an opportunity for locals to socialize. What better way to end a work session than with a mug of beer?

Continue below for a look at some of the most fascinating floats from the parade's history.

Bloemencorso Zundert: Magenta owl

Photo: Daniel Leppens/Shutterstock

Bloemencorso Zundert: Harry Potter

Photo: Bart Goetschalckx/Wikimedia

Bloemencorso Zundert: Skeleton horses

Photo: Daniel Leppens/Shutterstock

Bloemencorso Zundert: Sheep

Photo: Marcel de Jong/Flickr

Bloemencorso Zundert: Dirt bike

Photo: Daniel Leppens/Shutterstock

Bloemencorso Zundert: Orchids

Photo: Daniel Leppens/Shutterstock

Bloemencorso Zundert: Horse and trees

Photo: Daniel Leppens/Shutterstock

Bloemencorso Zundert: Rhino

Photo: Sandra Mutsters/Wikimedia

Bloemencorso Zundert: Bird beak

Photo: Malou Evers/Wikimedia

Bloemencorso Zundert: Purple city

Photo: Werner Pellis/Wikimedia

Bloemencorso Zundert: Weird float

Photo: Julian van der Boer/Wikimedia

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Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.

Catch dahlia fever! 12 incredible floats from the world's biggest all-volunteer flower parade
Every September, this Dutch city is taken over by tigers, skeletons, owls and many other larger-than-life characters!