The Barranquilla Carnival, held in the first quarter of every year, a few days before Ash Wednesday, is the best party in Colombia. The pre-carnival starts in mid-January with a series of street celebrations including dances, processions, and parades. The festivities attract about 500 folk groups, international artists, and just about everyone in Barranquilla. During the Carnival, which UNESCO declared a World Cultural Heritage Event in 2003, attendees revel in the city’s streets to the rhythms of cumbia and mapalé. Since 1903, the Battle of the Flowers parade has included characters such as the Momo Carnival King, María Moñitos, and the Cayman man.