There’s an unlikely idol in the rural coffee-growing area of Colmbia known as the Coffee Triangle - the Willy's Jeep. Once the American military's vehicle of choice during World War II, the jeeps were first imported there in the 1940s and have become a beloved symbol of the region. They are celebrated with parades in the small towns of the Quindío region, where locals pile up the jeeps with everything but the kitchen sink!
Before we get into the how and the why, take a look at a few examples to see that when I say "everything but the kitchen sink," I'm really not exaggerating.
These loaded jeeps are known as "Yipao," which is derived from the locals pronouncing the word "Jeep" as "yip." They're a big part of daily life here, where they conquer the mountainous terrain and unpaved roads while carry large piles of coffee bags, produce, livestock and people. In many towns, families will load up all their belongings onto the jeep when moving houses, often attempting to make the full move in a single trip.
The locals have nicknamed the Jeep the "mechanical mule" since it allows farmers to access remote and off-road areas that were once only accessible using pack animals like mules and burros.
As you can see, these rugged Jeeps are pretty significant when it comes to how many people here earn their livelihood. That's why they decided to celebrate their beloved Jeeps with an annual Yipao parade.
Hundreds of Yipaos arrive each summer to the small towns of Quindío, each loaded up with something significant to the region. Along with the parade, there is also a contest to see who can load the most onto their jeep, with several divisions and prizes.
The four categories are:
1) Agricultural Products - usually things like coffee, bananas and other local produce.
2) House Moving - all things related to a house move including (but not limited to) things like TVs, beds, couches and even family members and household pets! To be honest, if you looked hard enough you probably could find a kitchen sink thrown in too.
3) Free Category - as the name suggests, this is the category for those who want to experiment with unique decorations such as locally-produced dolls or baskets.
4) The Pique Contest - this is for the cowboys out there. The idea is to load the rear of your Jeep with 1,800 kilograms (nearly 4,000 pounds) of anything, so as to have the vehicle lean backwards with the front wheels in the air. The goal is to drive as far as possible in this way.
There are also other thrill-seekers who then ride these tilted Jeeps almost like a mechanical bull.
The annual parade, which started in 1988, lasts five days and takes place in the towns of Calarcá and Armenia, which is Quindío's capital. It holds a Guinness World Record for being the longest Jeep parade in the world.
Many locals keep their Yipao loaded up year-round with religious icons, ornaments and all sorts of other accessories.
Via: MessyNessy Chic