The largest event of the entire Vendimia celebration, Fiesta Nacional, takes place on Saturday night at Mendoza’s Greek style theatre, in San Martin Park. Back in February, Mendocinians lined up a night before tickets went on sale and every seat was sold within hours the following day. Although the stadium holds 22,000 people comfortably, thousands more hike the surrounding hills to enjoy the captivating show picnic style and for free!
This outdoor Colloseum theatre built in the 1950’s is very unique with 120 meters of stage and different levels, a pool of water surrounded by more platforms to stand on, 180 degree views from every seat, and a beautiful backdrop of 2 miles of rolling hills. The venue is ideal for a large event such as this famous Vendimia celebration which has become a traditional spectacle since 1963.
On Saturday evening we hosted a pre-Vendimia reception at The Vines of Mendoza, where our visitors were able to mingle amongst each other, enjoy wine, and learn about the show they were about to see.
At 8pm everyone loaded in the bus and headed to the event in the nearby park. With over 40,000 people on the same road to the stadium, the lines were overwhelming long for this Saturday night. For those who know how long this event can take, spectators brought with them baskets full of wine, empanadas, and other treats to enjoy throughout the night. Once the show began, the energy in the crowd was contagious. People stood to their feet to cheer and dance along to the folklore music booming from below.
With 700 dancers in colorful costumes placed upon 8 different levels of the stage, it was impossible to take your eyes away from the action. The impeccable choreography of the dancing, the incredible lighting and sound, and the synchronized fireworks shooting off from the surrounding hilltops were enchanting.
Being a first time viewer, I have to say that I was extremely impressed by the beauty of the show. After talking to several Argentineans who had attended several Vendimia Festivals, they all told me this year’s production was the best they had ever seen.
Since Argentina is celebrating the 200th anniversary of their first governing body, the show focused its attention on Argentina’s nationalism. The scenes focused on the spirit of the gaucho, the wine-making traditions, as well as the history of San Martin, the liberator of Argentina. The combination of these important traditions with the beauty of the performance created a very emotionally charged audience. The final portion of the show was dedicated to the election of the 2010 National Vendimia Queen and Maria Flor Destéfanis of Santa Rosa walked away with this year’s crown.
Although the Festival is officially over, the harvest has barely just begun and the wineries have their work cut out for them this month. Until mid-late April the winemakers and vineyard managers will be working around the clock to produce the highest-quality Argentinean wine for their international and domestic markets. With tourism at its peak right now, we at Uncorking Argentina, are working harder than ever to create wonderful experiences for our friends here in the Land of Malbec. Start planning your Vendimia 2011 custom-built trip with us and discover why Mendoza has so much to celebrate!