Bullfighting and swimsuit parades at the Manizales Festival

Colombia’s second biggest festival sees the launch of its most hotly anticipated event Thursday – the swimsuit parade for candidates competing to be crowned International Coffee Queen 2010.

Nineteen beauties from various nations have come to Manizales to take part in the acclaimed festival and will begin competing at 9AM Thursday for the prestigious title of Coffee Ambassador, currently held by Colombian Alejandra Meza.

Once they have paraded before judges in their bikinis, the candidates will devote themselves to a week-long investigation the city’s coffee trade. The objective of the exercise is for candidates to prove their awareness of Colombia’s coffee market, and seek trade alternatives for their respective countries.

At 5.30PM on Thursday the procession for “Our Lady of Hope” will take place, involving the beauty candidates, bullfighters, city authorities and the image of the Patron Saint of Matadors, reported Caracol Radio.

The evening will see the launch of the Bullfighting Festival, a traditional and highly popular event at which celebrated matadors will perform in order to raise money for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.

Music lovers can then party the night away with tango, samba and the sounds of the National Reggae-ton Festival.

On Saturday 9, the day before the festival finale, a panel of experts will crown this year’s International Coffee Queen. News site Cromos revealed that favorites this year include Miss Bolivia, Miss Brazil, Miss Poland, Miss Spain and of course, Miss Colombia.

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