Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia
Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia (The Grape Harvest National Festival) takes place annually in Mendoza City, Argentina. It is one of the most important festivals in the country, attracting large numbers of tourists to the region. It is a celebration of wine and the winemaking industry.
Each of the 18 departments in Mendoza Province prepare for the festival in the early months of the year. The main event occurs in the first week of March in Mendoza city featuring hundreds of dancers and performers, the selection of a "Reina Nacional de la Vendimia" (National Vendimia Queen) and a large fireworks display.
The first vendimia celebrations in Mendoza Province occurred in the 17th Century. The first official Vendimia festival took place in 1936. Recently Mendoza's Vendimia ranked number two in National Geographic's Top 10 World's Harvest Festivals, after the Thanksgiving celebrations in Plymouth Plantation, Massachusetts.
Each of Mendoza's departments are represented at the festival:
Programme of events
Blessing of the fruit
The blessing of the fruit takes place on the last Sunday of February.
Vía Blanca de las Reinas
On the evening of the first Friday of March the prettiest women elected as Reinas (queens) from each department parade in allegoric chariots through the streets of Mendoza dressed in decorative outfits designed to celebrate the winemaking tradition and the character of their Departments. This event has been known to attract over 200,000 spectators.
The Carrusel Vendimial takes place on the Saturday morning, it takes the form of a daylight parade, where the Reinas ride their chariots through the streets, accompanied formations of men dressed in Gaucho style outfits and riding horses, they are followed by dancers representing various provinces of Argentina and other Latin American Countries. This parade also attracts huge numbers of spectators.
The "Acto Central" takes place in the Frank Romero Day Greek theatre. It is an impressive spectacle of light and sound featuring over 100 performers and dancers. The show pays homenage to the "Virgen de la Carrodilla" and features traditional folklore music.
The finale of the show sees the election of the "Reina Nacional de la Vendimia" and a large firework display.
- (in Spanish) Vendimia Mendoza website