Arriving at the Uruguayan Independence day festival at Fairfield showground this year, I am met with the sight of plumes of BBQ smoke and sounds of Celia Cruz blasting through the sound system. Although the August 25th is celebrated as the Independence Day of Uruguay, it is celebrated at the showground on the Sunday weekend. With a $10 entry fee, proceeds from entry and food go to helping the poorer villages in Uruguay.
If you do have the chance to visit Fairfield, its a great place that has a lot to offer. Fairfield is the heart of the latin community and really is the best place to taste churros, empanadas and dulce de leche treats.
Fun facts about Uruguay:
- Uruguayans are known to eat lots of meat! They especially enjoy beef platters and steak sandwiches.
- The complete name of Uruguay is República Oriental del Uruguay, and its capital is Montevideo.
- The main sport in Uruguay is football (soccer). The national football team has won the FIFA World Cup twice- in 1930 and 1950. It is the smallest country (in terms of population) to ever win a World Cup.
- Uruguay has a population of about 3.5 million people, and 1.4 million of them live in the capital.
The ceremony commences with the Uruguay national anthem, followed by the Australian National anthem. The national heroes who worked hard to make the country independent are honored and the national flag is hoisted followed by the parade.
*Drools* Asado is made up of beef ribs that are slow cooked on a coal BBQ. In this case, there are over 50 BBQ chefs cooking around the clock to feed all the patrons at this event.
Some performers getting ready for their performance
Lots of Uruguayan souvenirs
Peruvian traditional dolls and adorable llamas
Even though I attend this annual event regularly, this is the first time I have seen this. Basically it’s a miniature replica of a very popular fair ground in the capital city Monetvideo ‘El Parque Rodo’. Having visited as a child, it has really brought back a lot of memories for me.
Here is the husband of the husband and wife team who created the miniature park. He was just lovely.
From this picture, it’s pretty hard to tell, but I was so close to these drummers, I actually had to lean back so I wouldn’t get smacked in the face with a drum stick. The sound was deafening, but it was so amazing to be right in the action. These drums are called condombe. Candombe is a generic term for all Afro-Uruguayan dances that has become an important part of Uruguayan culture for over 200 years. The drum is a symbol for the Candombe Yauguru (Uruguay backwards), an Afro-Uruguayan drumming and dancing group that formed in Fairfield to continue the rhythmic tradition that is at the heart of Uruguayan culture and heritage. You can read more about the meanings of the costumes here.
A funny thing happened a few days before the festival when I was trying to convince a friend of mine to come along for the day. I mentioned there would be lots of yummy bbq, lots of latin music and lots of ‘sexy’ girls wearing nothing much at all. Very excited by the idea of the girls, my friend said ‘Hell yes!’ and he decided to come along. Two minutes before the parade was about to begin, he mentions that he is going to the bathroom. The parade and all the girls with their barely-there costumes shimmied their voluptuous bodies all the way down right in front of us. Once the performers had made their way to stage, he finally comes back and says to me, ‘what did I miss?’