The Caribbean city of Cartagena initiates its monumental month-long independence celebration, including floats, parades, music, the customary and the “Battle of the Flowers” parade that will last throughout November.

The Caribbean city that already attracts flocks of tourists to its beaches year round launched one of the biggest annual parties in South America on Thursday afternoon. The celebration is meant to last throughout November in commemoration of Cartagena’s 201 years of independence from the Spanish.

The traditional “Battle of Flowers parade” kicked off the festival Thursday afternoon when 25 contestants of Miss Colombia rode decorated floated through the city, reported local Cartagena paper El Universal.

Festivities will ensue day and night after the parade, held in various neighborhoods throughout the city. Fireworks will light up the skies and dancing will fill the streets to traditional afro-caribbean music played by native bands for weeks during the celebration.

The highlight of the festival is the election of Miss Colombia on Sunday, November 11.

On that day in 1811 Cartagena was the first province to gain its independence from Spanish rule, giving all of South America a reason to celebrate the port city’s freedom as well as a reason to party for more than just one day. The initial Cartagena emancipation is also credited as an important step towards the whole of Colombia’s independence from Spain, meriting the prolific speeches, parades and festivities that surround the historic event.