Sunday, September 24, 2017

Goodbye Begonia Festival

Capitola, California

sunset hue float with flower-skirted girls and rainbow and fkiwer of flowers

The last Capitola Begonia Festival! This float, “Sun Setting on Begonias,” is made up of huge amounts of begonias, like those of the other Boat Parade contestants. After 65 years of fun, these floats are the last in this tradition.

champagne glass float with beach chairs,with begonia umbrella

“Toast to Begonias” is powered by a crew of just two, and depicts a beautiful day at Capitola beach…with a giant bubbling glass of champagne. Cheers!

Yellow boat with red and white, begonia-dress-clad human figurehead

“Lady Begonia” is a fine and flowery vessel, with a lovely living figurehead. Here she floats beneath the railroad trestle and upriver past thousands of spectators.

dark red pirate ship with yellow, pirate flag and exploding begonia cannon

“The Black Begonia” is the Lady (Begonia)’s mortal enemy. In hot pursuit, the pirates fire off water-spray cannons. All in good fun.

SPCA float with flower house and tree, 2 small dogs and several people

 “Bow-WOW to Begonias” features two adorable rescue dogs that are available to good homes. It’s hard to resist a sweet-looking dog who waves at you.

mayor looking through giant spyglass, spout of water from inside

Even the former mayor and his wife get into the spirit in “Shipping Out to Sea.” Their two kids are inside, spraying super-soakers out the portholes.

sexy dancing woman on mast, older beauty on deck with several children

Upriver by the beach and the judges, “Bye Bye Miss American Pie” features two women who are float veterans. The seated woman was crowned Festival Queen, back in the days when the Festival had beauty queens. The woman on top sure can dance.

red and yellow begonia biplane with waving girl in yellow, and base of ferns and pink & yellow..

“Now Departing Begonia Flight 65” waves a fond and gracious goodbye to the Begonia Festival and begonia-laden floats after 65 years. It has been a good run.


  1. Replies
    1. There are no longer begonia growers near Capitola. Antonelli's and Brown Bulb Ranch provided begonias at no charge for 65 years. The owners have now retired.