Feria de las Colectividades: Food, Frivolity and Funny Hats

The Feria de las Colectividades, Necochea's annual multicultural festival, celebrates the various immigrant groups that have helped shape our city. The three-day festival takes place at the end of January in Parque Miguel Lillo and features stands serving up the gastronomic specialties of each ethnic group, as well as music and dance troupes wearing traditional costumes. The event culminates with a pageant and the crowning of the festival queen.

The following ethnic groups participated in this year's festival: Italians [plus the regions of Basilicata, Calabria and Le Marche], French, Danes, Germans, Spaniards [plus the regions of Andalusia and the Basque Country], Arabs and Greeks. For some reason, the Chileans decided to stay home this year, but they usually set up (a rather popular) stand at the festival too.

This year marks the fourth time I have attended the Feria de las Colectividades. I enjoy the lively music and colorful dress, although what I particularly relish is the opportunity to sample dishes from the various stands. Honestly, it's one of the only times out of the whole year that I have the chance to eat ethnic food (that is, unless I prepare it myself at home). Necochea could really use some dining options beyond typical Argentine fare…

Feria de las Colectividades, Necochea, Argentina by Katie Metz

Festivalgoers can purchase these delicacies and more from the food stands:
Italy: zeppoli, tiramisu, pizza, piadina, ricotta pie, ciambelline, sfrappe, pizzelle
France: blanquette, ratatouille, baguettes, sweet and savory crepes
Denmark: assorted cakes, open-faced sandwiches with various fillings, and aquavit
Germany: sausages, sauerkraut and beer
Spain: tortilla, paella, ham sandwiches, chistorra, pinchos, seafood stew, fried calamari and pork loin
Middle East: kibbe, fatay, shawarma and hummus
Greece: souvlaki, tiropita, baklava, galaktoboureko
Chile: empanadas de pino

Folk Dancing at the Feria de las Colectividades, Necochea, Argentina by Katie Metz

Traditional music and dance fill the stage at the Feria de las Colectividades. In addition to local performers, German, Paraguayan, Bolivian, Greek, Russian and Ukrainian folk dance troupes from Olavarría and Buenos Aires entertain the crowd at the festival.

Fiesta de las Colectividades, Necochea, Argentina by Katie Metz

And as the title of the post indicates, you're guaranteed to see a funny hat throughout the course of the night. Tell me, who doesn't enjoy a funny hat or two?

[Last but not least, take a look at this video montage from this year's festival. You can skip to the good stuff by starting at the 0:35-second mark. Please click here if you can't view the embedded video.]

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