The lines grew longer by the minute, as young children, tourists, locals from Las Tablas and Panamanians from across the country were brought together with the single purpose of proudly viewing the country's national costume in all its glory exhibited down the streets of Las Tablas in the Parade of a Thousand Polleras.
Traditional music was heard blaring across the town to lift spirits and begin celebrating the event early. Parade-goers picked the best spot to watch the floats, carts and dancers in pollera dresses, so the entire parade route gradually filled up with portable chairs and parasols. Many tourists were seen winding along the streets before the parade, most sporting large sunglasses to shield them from the beating sun and some accessory that is representative of Panama, whether a hat or hair comb. Even without speaking much of Spanish, these tourists had found a way to come watch the polleras parade.
The Álvarez family had traveled all the way from the United States to see the parade. They proudly noted that it was wonderful, affirming with astonishment that the pollera is a spectacle of color and showiness and recognizing the handiwork required to produce it. The family added that the women looked beautiful when they wore the pollera, and stressed how lovely it was to see everyone united for one reason, especially since it was a traditional aspect of the country.
The parade provided the perfect business opportunity for the sale of traditional handicrafts, garments and food, so local and visiting vendors took advantage and set up their stalls on the street corners of the parade route for attendees to be easily able to purchase their products. Artisans and vendors agreed that this year they received the most revenue as a result of the parade. The changed date surely had something to do with it, since more people were on vacation in this sunny summer period and that meant more customers.
Off in the distance the beating of drums were heard, marking the start of the parade. Cameras clicked into place in anticipation of the arrival of the first pollera, a white skirt trimmed with red. She approached with great elegance, swaying from side to side and shining even more brightly under the camera flashes. Behind her came a thousand more polleras, accompanied by floats, singing groups and percussion ensembles.
This was the second pollera parade that has been held in Las Tablas, although all of the provinces are represented with their costumes of all colors and ornaments. Both foreigners and residents showed pride and amazement on their faces as they watched the polleras go by, and several people sang along to the rhythm of drums. This activity pays tribute to the nation's cultural heritage, as it exalts the traditions and customs of the country.