MATADEROS Stockyards fair

MATADEROS Stockyards fair, Buenos Aires, Argentina (A)

This is an authentic fair which promotes Argentine culture, music, dance, arts and crafts. It is somewhat off the beaten track and almost unknown to the majority of tourists. The fair is dedicated to the gaucho who, like the American cowboy, is a romanticized figure who plays an important symbolic role in the nationalist feelings of this region. The fair has three sections, arts and crafts, live performances and Argentine rodeo.
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Sights Featured in This Article

Guide Name: MATADEROS Stockyards fair
Guide Location: Argentina » Buenos Aires
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2.0 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.4 Km or 0.2 Miles
Author: Anne Ranson
Author Bio: Anne Ranson has lived and worked in many countries of Latin America during 34 years and now lives in Argentina.
Author Website:
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • El Resero square
  • Museo Criollo de los Corrales
  • Mataderos arts and crafts
  • Bar Oviedo
  • Mataderos foods and wines
  • Open air entertainment
  • Dancing in the street
  • Gaucho rodeo
El Resero square

1) El Resero square

From the corner of Avenido Directorio and Avenida Lisando de la Torre, walk three blocks south down Avenida Lisando de la Torre, ignoring the stalls which are in the Parque Alberdi and making for a pink clock tower that can be seen through the trees. Where Avenida de los Corrales crosses Avenida Lisando de la Torre, the roads open out into a square in front of a church. This is the Paseo Liborio Pupillo and the square of the Resero, the signature gaucho or Argentine cowboy, who is celebrated in the chapel which is dedicated to him and by the statue in the middle of the square. Real live gauchos are all over the fair, wearing their traditional clothes. This is their stamping ground. Pupillo was a famous, radical gaucho politician. The old stockyards are behind the wall further down Av. Lisandro de la Torre
Image Courtesy of Jaime Gutiérrez Alfaro.
Museo Criollo de los Corrales

2) Museo Criollo de los Corrales

This is a relatively new museum, located in the pink-painted former stockyards administration building. It is dedicated to the history of the stockyards, to the life and work of the gauchos. A gaucho is, by definition, a nomad, so he carries everything he needs with him. The exhibit therefore, is small pieces related to the work and life style of the gaucho, guns, knives, clothing,tools,cooking equipment, bridles, stirrups and other horse equipment. The museum is open from 13.00 to 19.00 hours every Sunday throughout the year except in January and February. In addition to the museum, there is an area dedicated to exhibitions and cultural activities, as an extension of the arts and crafts fair outside. The inside activities include theater, cinema, permanent art exhibitions, dance, music and craft workshops.The activities are supported by the Ministry of Culture of the City of Buenos Aires. Programs and activities are shown on the web-site of the Feria de Mataderos or in the cultural pages on the newspapers.
Image Courtesy of CamilaMazza.
Mataderos arts and crafts

3) Mataderos arts and crafts

The fair has three sections. The arts and crafts are both indoors in permanent exhibitions inside the restored market buildings around the square and outside in the square and the side streets where over 300 stall holders sell directly to the public. The range of arts and crafts is enormous, leather ware, silver ware, bone work, metal work, wood work, weaving, embroidery, tie-dying, knitting, crochet, ceramics, candles, semi-precious stones, jewellery, paintings, cartoons, photographs etc. The prices are reasonable beyond belief, often for one-of-a-kind pieces. Many of the items on sale make fine souvenirs or presents to take home. Some of the items are luxurious necessities, such as sheepskin slippers or hand woven shawls and ponchos. Inevitably, there is a fine selection of the Argentine traditional mates, a stimulant tea, and the materos, the gourds or pots, to drink from through a straw. A number of the stall holders display a brightly colored flag of small squares. That is the flag of the Andean native peoples, who proudly flaunt the fact of being both Argentines and indigenous.
Image Courtesy of Richie Diesterheft.
Bar Oviedo

4) Bar Oviedo

The gauchos know their meat, so the stalls in the market sell only the very best barbecued cuts and sausages and always in large portions. For those who want to sit down and be served, there are numerous bars and restaurents. The oldest and most traditional is Bar Oviedo,painted red and located on the corner of Lisando de la Torre and the square. It is run by descendents of the original owner and is listed as one of the "bares notables" of the city of Buenos Aires. During the day, the gauchos play dominoes, truco and tute cabrero in the bar. At night, the dancers from the street carry on dancing inside and there are also tango shows and demonstrations on a miniscule stage.
Image Courtesy of Roberto Fiadone.
Mataderos foods and wines

5) Mataderos foods and wines

Whilst it is possible to eat excellently but simply in the cafés and bars around the Mataderos fair, it is also a good place to stock up on the best hand crafted and home made foods to take back with you. The majority of the food stalls are in the Av. de los Corrales where you can try and taste or buy to take away home made hams, sausages, cheeses including goats cheese, oils, sauces, pickles, wines including wines made by the traditional treading method, preserves, jams, honey and honey products, sweets, cakes, puddings and pastries, all incredibly delicious, incredibly cheap and absolute top quality.
Open air entertainment

6) Open air entertainment

Throughout the afternoon, musical and dance groups perform on the elevated stage erected in front of the Resero statue in the square. These groups are promoted by the cultural ministry of the city of Buenos Aires. The entertainment is free. The majority of the acts are traditional music, song and dance groups from different provinces in Argentina but occasionally there will be visiting artists from neighboring countries or immigrants groups will perform music and dance from their homelands. On public and national holidays, the program will include famous artists whose performances are usually only accessible in theatres. The spectacles are free to the public and continue throughout the afternoon, often with ribald and comic linking commentary from the presenters.The music is interpreted by the audience who dance or sing along as appropiate. Between acts, loud dance music, folk and tango, is played to keep the audience involved.
Dancing in the street

7) Dancing in the street

Accompanying the stage performances or to recorded music put out over the loud speakers, the visitors to the fair dance in the street, both traditional Argentine dances and tango. Some are wearing traditional costume, others dance in their everyday clothes. Everybody dances, the young with the old, the beautiful with the ugly, the skilled and the unskilled, men with men and women with women. In the dancing, one sees something intrinsically Argentine. There is a love of culture, music and dance has no class or age barriers. This may be one reason the country produces so many world class musicians and dancers. The people at the fair dance without self-consciousness, for the pleasure of movement and the expression of the music. As the fair closes, the dancing moves into the bars, restaurents and clubs around the neighborhood and carries on into the night. Anybody can join in. Occasionally, there is a unconscious comic act which keeps the audience engaged, like the tipsy young man who danced a skilful tango with his bare-footed girl-friend, guiding her around with his right hand on her ample bottom instead of on her back in the traditional pose.
Gaucho rodeo

8) Gaucho rodeo

From 13.00 hours onwards every Sunday, the gauchos, many of whom work in the stockyards, gather for the equivalent of a rodeo, a competition and test of horse-riding skills. The activities are nothing like a traditional rodeo and are uniquely Argentine. In addition to cutting and separating horses, there are shows of incredible skill, for example, riding at speed in less than 200 meters, standing in the stirrups, to poke a small stick through a metal ring. The activities are accompanied by heavy betting and, later, by heavy drinking. The horses used are small, stocky and very fast, stronger than polo quarter horses. Most riders use traditional costumes and traditional bridles, saddles and stirrups made of wood and rawhide. Many ride in alpagatas, soft, canvas slip-ons. Girls and women traditionally do not compete but they are seen caring for the horses and working as supporters.

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