The National Grape Harvest Festival in Mendoza is one of the most popular events in Argentina. Here we have two of the contestants who are hoping to win the big prize.
"The Acto Central, at the Greek amphitheatre in Parque San Martín, is where Vendimia comes to a head. The enthralled masses finally find out who has been chosen as this year's Harvest Queen. Mendoza Capital's representative isn't allowed to compete, for fear of gaining an unfair home-ground advantage. She gets to play hostess instead. Breaths are held for nearly two hours through an allegorical stage show planned, choreographed and rehearsed for nine months. The contestants parade one last time across the stage, flanked by costumed dancers, interspersed by uplifting speeches and rousing music, dazzled by stage lighting and special effects that would rival a Stones tour.
And then – all is revealed! The queen of queens is crowned, to thunderous applause and occasional isolated fist-fights. Fireworks light up the sky and the party leaves the amphitheatre but continues well into the early hours. Mendocinos and tourists alike join together to celebrate the best of the province and the summer season at bars, clubs and parties all over town. Some of them even drink wine."
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