Monday, October 31, 2011

A County Fair Peruvian Style

Yesterday the 12th annual Feria Ganadera (livestock show) began a six-day run on the grounds of the Livestock Growers Association near Chiclayo’s airport.

Even without the attraction of a fair the enclosed area itself is worth seeing. At any given time it is home to upwards of 300 beef and dairy cattle. The dairy cows are there primarily to supply milk for the government’s ‘Vaso de Leche’ (glass of milk) program for poor kids in the Lambayeque Region. The beef cattle are sold to local restaurants. There are a surprising number of breeds in the pens. Of the dairy cows the Holstein prevails. I recognized Charolais among the many breeds of beef cows.

As for the fair, though the promotional material bills it as a livestock show it has all the ingredients of county fairs in the US plus some things you don’t see in Wisconsin, including a bullfight.

One of the first events was a dog show. The gentleman in the photo showed this Rottweiler and a German Shepherd. He did not win a prize. Those who did received 16, 8 or 4 kilos of dog food for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place respectively. Most of the dogs on the streets of Chiclayo are mutts, but of the rapidly growing number of house dogs (and resultant pet salons!) Rottweilers and Pit Bulls seem to be prevalent.

A display of horsemanship was put on by the police department. Peruvians seem to appreciate equestrian skills almost as much as they enjoy watching the marinara danced.

Strolling the midway one could see kiosks on both sides selling crafts, natural medicines, clothing, and all sorts of candy including the familiar fluffy pink cotton candy. There were live and stuffed animals to have your photo taken with. What were missing were the games of chance - throwing darts at balloons, or balls at milk bottles to win a prize.

In Chiclayo all festivities include lots of food. Dozens of food vendors were offering chicharrĂ³n con mote (fried pork chunks served with boiled corn and onions), cuy con papas (fried guinea pig with boiled potatoes) and carne con papas (fried beef with boiled potatoes). And with all that salt, beer stands were doing a brisk business.

As we were leaving a huge bandstand was being erected as evidenced by the half-dozen refrigerator sized speakers being placed on it. I didn’t mind not being there for the music. Before I left the US my doctor cautioned me to never subject myself to the sounds of 300 bawling cattle combined with a billion decibels of mind numbing, organ shifting Latin music.


No comments:

Post a Comment