Buenos Aires’ cowboy fair
La Feria De Mataderos, a weekly fair in Buenos Aires, offers insight into Argentinian gaucho (cowboy) culture. (Laurence Ache)
La Feria De Mataderos is a weekly fair in the Argentine capital with traditional folk dancing, handicrafts and food, as well as popular gaucho (cowboy) demonstrations.
More than 300 stalls offer handcrafted gaucho tools like the facón (a large fighting knife), the rebenque (leather whip) and boleadoras (a throwing weapon used to catch cattle), as well as traditional leather products, silverware and blankets. Gourds for drinking mate (traditional Argentina tea) make excellent souvenirs or gifts, and traditional Argentine foods like empanadas (filled pastries) and locro (stew) are for sale.
The gaucho shows here are well known throughout Buenos Aires, where cowboys demonstrate their horseback-riding skills and showmanship to the crowds through various feats -- such as by galloping at full speed, upright on the stirrups, to try to spear a tiny ring hanging from a metal frame.
While tango is the most well-known dance in Argentina, folklórica is a close second, and these traditional folk dances, synonymous with gaucho culture, are performed at the fair by live musicians and dancers.
Located in the meatpacking district of Mataderos (which translates as “slaughterhouses”) on the outskirts of the city, the fair is held every Sunday between March and December, from 11 am until 8 pm.
Tim Fitzgerald is the Buenos Aires Localite for BBC Travel. He also writes gringoinbuenosaires.com.