An intoxicating and brightly coloured street bazaar, teeming with bohemian activity, spills into surrounding side-roads. The weekly San Telmo festival in Buenos Aires has been a tradition since 1971, and should be at the top of your list when you visit.
Inspired by the original, Melbourne’s own Meyers Place Latin Fiesta returns this weekend for its second year. “Five or six years ago, Renee McConnell owner of San Telmo restaurant in Meyers Place visited the Sunday market and fell in love with how the people expressed themselves and their Argentinian culture,” says the fiesta’s organiser, Camila Salazar. “She wanted to bring this experience back with her, and share the essence of Latin America with the people of Melbourne.”
San Telmo restaurant and Mick Williams, host of PBS FM’s Latin Connections show, have worked with laneway neighbours Loop and Loop Roof, Lily Blacks and Mr. Big Stuff to curate an all-day roster of Latin-inspired live music, food and drink specials, dance classes and street performances.
Venues across Meyers Place will serve one-off food and drink specials, including Peruvian and Chilean-style crab. The fiesta’s main sponsor, Bacardi, will run a bar. Williams has lined up a vibrant roster of live acts that include Victor Ricardo and La Mezcla, an energetic, traditional Latin band, and singer Alicia Rappoport with her brand of tango and musical theatre. Local designers will sell Argentinean-inspired crafts, and younger visitors can enjoy circus performances and magic shows throughout the day. A series of salsa, merengue, samba and capoeira dance classes will keep people moving until sunset.
Last year’s fiesta was a big success, and there is even more lined up this time around. Salazar says, “Last year, we didn’t realise what we were getting ourselves into. We would have been thrilled if 400 people had come down for the party, but the street was filled with over 4000! The festival was going crazy and everyone was having so much fun. This year, it’s going to be bigger and better.”
Meyers Place Latin Fiesta is on Sunday October 11 between 11am and 6pm in Meyers Place, Melbourne. Entry is free and the event is suitable for all ages.