Since early morning the festive atmosphere can be felt all around Pola de Laviana, and this feeling will last all day and night. Around the streets and in the shopping areas, neighbours and visitors start getting ready for this amazing day, some as active participants and others enjoying as watchers.
Activities and Music Bands
That same morning, the Descent Friends Association (NFD co-organizer) has prepared activites and game for kids, like clows performances, ballon figures, and others. To kick off the fun, popular music bands, arrived from all over Spain, are marching through the town, putting smiles in everyone faces.
All this is happening while the floats are arriving to the meeting points from where they will start the parade.
The floats arrival to the starting places is not part of the official parade, but still is a very good way to see the collaboration spirit that reigns in the council capital. There are floats made in Laviana, which need to drive through the streets to get to their staring point, and they get help from all the people around, and support from the efficient traffic control system agents. The floats can't have engine according to the rules, and it may be difficult to move them in some narrow and hilly streets.
The "pre-parade" where floats navigate to their starting places for the parade is already a great chance for the visitors and participants to see the final results of months of work put into the floats, and enjoy the "charriots" in perfect condition before they go down the river
Some other floats arrive from villages around Laviana that are quite few kilometers away. This requires a huge organization and strategic work, as these floats need to travel on local roads transit with cars pushed by the participans themselves. For this reason the floats need to be well engineered as they need to be resiliant to this trip without issues, and for that the participants work all kind of witty ways to pass on cables, trees, cars. Imagination is the main strenght of these groups, and the ingenous ones are to admire
The "Descenso" (Descent in Spanish) begins: this is the most waited moment for all the participants as well as the public watching the NFD. We could summarize it as around 50 floats (average participant floats during years) are getting ready in their starting point to kick off. The meeting points are in Mariano Menedez Valdes street and around, in Laviana's downtown area.
Aroung 11 am the floats start arriving, like some early birds that come from farthest villages and they start their voyages even before sunrise. However, most of the vessels arrive between 1:30 pm and 3 pm
Thousands of people, participants and visitors, enjoy taking pictures and participating of the music and revelry
Ready for the floats departure
At 15:30 all embarkations are ready to departure from their starting points, every one with the assigned by organization number, and at that moment the parade begins
All floats in line parade along Libertad Street, Laviana's main street. The parade has a lot of acting, and the groups showcase the time they've spent practicing with beatiful and funny performances related with their floats theme
Other values we can highlight as part of the Descenso are respect, closeness, happiness, multiple generations together and many others that make the parade much more attractive for all
Once the floats exit Laviana town, they continue the parade for around 1 km until they arrive to La Chalana's bridge, where they stop and perform a tradition with deep roots in The "Descenso", as is singing the popular song known as "El Chalaneru", which lyrics talk about Laviana, and it is a very famous song in the community
Then the vessels continue the parade up the road towards the village of Puente de Arco, where the participants, helped by some spectators in many cases, take their floats into Nalon's river, making them boats now.
River Carnival Begins
At this time all the floats will have a "Xana" (princess of rivers in Asturian mythology) on board, who will put down a bouquet of roses or carnations in the river before the boat begins to float down
All boats and participants pushing them, go down the Nalon River from Puente de Arco, under the medieval bridge that gives the village name, to La Chalana meadow, around 1.5 kms away, going also under La Chalana's bridge (build in XX century)
It is a non stop joy for the adventurous in the river; trying to tame the boat and keep it in control in some sections where the currents are strong is an exhausting task, and in other sections the rocks are so big the team needs to work together to lift up the entire boat over the rocks. This is the real Descenso Party
Arriving to La Chalana Meadow
The end of this River Parade is at La Chalana Meadow. Here is where the floats will exit the river, and then all of them will remain displayed in an order fashion so the spectators and jurors can observe and judge them after their journey in the river, as the damage suffer during the voyage will penalize points.
At around 21:30 the meadow shows little activity, and all the action is moved to Laviana's Fairgrounds
Around midnight is the Descenso (Descent) awards ceremony at Laviana's Fairgrounds, installed for this purpose. Trophys will be delivered to the best 15 vessels, and there will be 3 special awards for "Asturiania", "Best Custom", "Best Party"
The "Sopera" Award
The Sopera is the highest award you can get in The Descenso. The Sopera is a trophy in the form of a Soup Bowl emulating the "Salad Plate" awarded in the tennis Davis Cup
For all the participants groups, getting awarded with The Sopera is a real honor, even they only get this prize without any monetary compensation, as all groups decided unanismously some time ago
Enjoy the Party
Targetting to reach out to the maximun number of people so they all can enjoy the many cultural and fun activities that are schedule as complement to the festivities, Fairgrounds are installed in Laviana's downtown, with all kind of activites for all ages and public. On top of this, and showcasing the support this festivity draws from the people, all the stands are sponsored by local business that increase their staff and sales during this even, to promote their products and services.
Paying attention to the cultural side, "Tresde Space" has been created in recent past years, as a forum space where lots of conferences and debates taking place about lots of interesting matters, to reach out to the maximum public possible. This space is included in the Fairgrounds for everybody to enjoy.
All activities are plan to enterteint every liking, from the cultural activites to the musical performances, from popular songwriters, best musical groups to electronic music, etc