After Erik and I learned that we would just be missing the annual Flower Festival in Chiang Mai, we went on a hunt to make sure we didn’t make the same mistake again. Our research uncovered a small local celebration in a nearby village.The Bo Sang Umbrella Festival is held each year during the third weekend in January and celebrates the village’s famed handmade, painted umbrellas.
The celebration includes elaborately decorated streets, umbrella factory open houses, parades, local music and dance, and the Miss Bo Sang Beauty Pageant Although we couldn’t make it to everything, I think we did a pretty good job in one afternoon.
Bo Sang is only a few kilometers outside of Chiang Mai so we were able to easily hop on a shared Songthaew for the 20 minute journey. We were dropped off at the main entrance to the village that was extensively embellished with umbrellas.
We really enjoyed walking down the main street and admiring the elaborate displays of umbrellas at every store and restaurant. There were also numerous street vendors selling hand painted fans and of course umbrellas!
I was transfixed as a local woman placed white fabric over a bamboo frame and then expertly impregnated the fabric with a water/sun proofing liquid. All of the umbrellas being made at the factory appeared to be fabric umbrellas, but they can also be made with paper that is also waterproofed.
A further walk down the street revealed some goings on outside of the handicrafts center and we spent some time enjoying culture exhibitions performed by local primary and secondary school students. We watched a group of boys preform in a percussion dance.
Later that night there was to be a parade as well as the Miss Bo Sang Beauty Pageant. All of which we sadly would miss. As we were leaving we did, however catch a glimpse of the beauties passing on their way to the beginning of the procession.