** Popular Festivals ** July • Fiesta de La Tirana, Iquique, mid July: One of the most important festivals in Chile’s calender - La Tirana sees around 80,000 pilgrims get together for this religious cult celebration where they present the Virgin with carnival style dances and offerings in this small village. August • Fiesta Nacional de la Nieve, Bariloche, mid August: Up on the Cerro Catedral and in the city locals celebrate the white snow with ski competitions, a chocolate festival, fireworks, music shows and pick a snow queen! September • Fiestas patrias, 18 - 19 September: Chile celebrates its national day (18th) with general merriment across the country - tucking into typical Chilean food, enjoying some dance and music and lighting houses up like the national flag. October
• Oktoberfest, Villa General Belgrano, Argentina, early October:
Argentina’s German immigrants made this festival near Cordoba the beer drinking fiesta that it is today. Two weeks of drinking local brew, listening to music and partying hard. November • Gay Parade, Buenos Aires, mid November: It doesn’t get much more colourful than BA’s gay, lesbian and transgender parade in November. Along with all their supporters and friends they parade from Plaza de Mayo to the Congreso with the music up loud! December • New Year’s Eve, everywhere, 31 December: New Years is a pretty big celebration in every country but the celebrations in Montevideo, Uruguay, have to top them all. An all out Guerra de Sidra (Cider Fight) in the main plaza with hours of cider throwing fun, followed by BBQs, a billion fireworks and dancing into the wee hours of the morn. Bring on the New Year!