Throughout more than 70 years, since 1936, the Harvest Festival remains, changes and evolves.
Beginnings of the Festival. Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia (National Harvest Season Festival) began taking place in 1936 during Guillermo Cano’s government period. On April, 18th at Gimnasia y Esgrima football field, in front of 25,000 people the first National Vendimia Queen – Delia Larrive Escudero, from Godoy Cruz – was elected.
Vendimia Song. A contest was held in order to choose a song for the festival and Ernesto Fluixá won. However in 1944 an official march – “Canto a Mendoza”- was chosen. Canto a Mendoza was first recorded by Hugo del Carril, the paradigmatic tango singer.
Carrusel and Góndolas. In 1937 the allegoric carriages were incorporated and Carrusel Vendimial was being formed. People are charged to attend the main show for the first time and thousands of fireworks were displayed. The main show and the carrusel were completed with a gondola parade along the Lago del Parque (Park lake) but it was then dropped.
Bendición de los Frutos (Blessing of the Fruits). It is a country people’s custom established in Mendoza. It is an offering given to thank for the successful end of the working year. Mendoza’s severe climatic conditions made his inhabitants really thankful, that is why on the Sunday before the festival, all the crop is blessed and Patrona de los Viñedos – Virgen de la Carrodilla is worshipped. The blessing was first included in the Harvest Season schedule in 1938. A year latter, a plough strike was included in order to symbolize the call to harvest work. The strike is done by the governor resembling the way in which rest, food and chores were called up.
Different Settings. The first precedent of the Festival dates back to 1913 when an industry and trade congress took place, which ended with harvesters and allegoric carriages parade. It was not until 1936 that the first Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia was celebrated. In 1938 it took place in Parque General San Martin in search for more room for the audience. Two years later a floating stage was set on the park Lake followed by the performance of 250 artists and the classical gondolas’ parade. In 1943 the stage returned to the round about to offer the first plot of harvest season history. But it was not until 1963 that the celebration got its definite stage: Teatro Griego Frank Romero Day – surrounded by hills where the light and sound show spreads. The party has grown even bigger and the queen becomes Mendoza’s representative, promoting its virtues and the beauty of its land.
This is how Fiesta de la Vendimia has become a celebration with its own soul – like lasting creations and good wine.