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Fiesta De La Patria Gaucha


Gaucho, festival, Tacuarembó

With Tacuarembó being Uruguay’s gaucho capital, where better to hold the world’s largest celebration of gaucho tradition and culture than here? Since 1987, the first week of March has seen the Laguna de las Lavenderas taken over by gauchos and visitors from all over the country, as well as Argentina and elsewhere. One of Uruguay’s highlights, it features shows and competitions of country skills and abilities, from rodeo to work by guasqueros (artisans who use rawhide to make horse-riding equipment).

The ambitious aims of the festival are to celebrate, affirm and teach about Uruguay’s gaucho traditions, passing it to future generations, and to help dignify the image of the gaucho. After an inauguration in Plaza 19 de Abril, most events are held at the Ruedo Don Homero Formoso (a rodeo stadium) in the Laguna. One high point is the election of the ‘Paisanito’ and ‘Paisanita’, the countryman and woman, who are then paraded in the desfiles, along with rodeo winners. Evenings feature performances of folk music and dancing.

Day tickets vary from $2.50-7.50, the most expensive at the weekend. Check the website for details of events, and to book camping pitches at the Laguna or other accommodation: patriagaucha.com.uy (Spanish only).

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By Emma Jones

Emma Jones, 30, is from London, and recently spent nine months enjoying travelling and writing in South America.�Her favourite...

21 Mar 2011

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