Once a year in the historical town of San Antonio de Areco in Argentina, gauchos from all over the country gather to show off their skills in a week-long Festival. This year the Festival is from November 1 to 9 and marks its 75th year. The gaucho experience is one of the best reservoirs for the culture and history of Argentina. Gauchos were nomad Argentine cowboys who led lonely lives on estancias in the 1800s. These large cattle ranches also acted as forts in the Pampas, the grasslands of the country, and the gauchos were their caretakers and fighters. The Gaucho Games are a main attraction – the highlight of which is the Jineteada, Argentine bronco riding in which the gaucho must maintain his seat on a fiery horse between 6-15 seconds. Corrida de sortija is the ring race where a horseman rides at breakneck speed to thread a needle through a wedding-ring size ring, hanging between two posts. In addition to the competitions, there is folk music, dances and exhibitions of local craftwork which include Argentina’s signature silver and leather materials. Asada con cuero, a huge barbeque, is cooked around a fire each day for the midday meal in the Parque Criollo. On the final day or Dia de la Tradicion, hundreds of gauchos in their traditional dress parade on the cobblestoned streets through the center of town. Visitors can stay at La Bamba de Areco which is one of the oldest estancias in Argentina, less than eight miles from the festival. The recently renovated hotel offers 11 air-conditioned rooms and suites, indoor and outdoor dining, library, bar billiards room, massage room and pool. For reservations and additional information, visit www.labambadeareco.com.
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