Under the slogan ‘Vendimia para todxs’ (Vendimia for Everyone) the festivities usually take place the second week in March, after the main Grape Harvest Festival ends.
This conservative northern city has a smaller, more demure gay scene than Buenos Aires, but during this week-long celebration Mendoza lets its freak flag fly high and proud.
In 2013 Argentina’s Tourism Minister declared the newly branded Vendimia para Todxs of ‘national touristic interest’ and added it to their agenda of yearly events.
Now that it has the backing of provincial and national governments, ‘Gay Vendimia’ has now become one of Mendoza’s most popular yearly events.
The Origins of the ‘Gay Vendimia Festival’
Gay Vendimia started as a joke according to Ricardo ‘Tito’ Bustos, founder and iconic owner of some of Mendoza’s most popular gay nightspots.
Today, the over 20 year-old ‘Fiesta de la Vendimia Gay’ has been rebranded as ‘Vendimia para Todxs‘ (Vendimia for Everyone) and draws revelers from across the globe, hosting 5,000 spectators for the main event.
As in the mainstream festival, there are activities all week long and a campy Las Vegas style grand finale that includes a beauty contest, with the ‘queen’ in this case in drag of course.
Where to Stay During Gay Vendimia
The staff speaks English and the modern-style fully-equipped suites are in the heart of downtown Mendoza. The group also runs an art gallery, Espacio Modlgliani which host events open to guests including exhibitions, live music and wine tastings.
Both options are a bargain too, with prices starting at US$80 per night. It’s important to book in advance during festival events, when prices surge. If these options are full, check out reviews on other Mendoza hotels and hostels.
Main Event & Party & Casting for Candidates for the ‘King’ and ‘Queen’ of Gay Vendimia
Saturday, March 14, 9:00 p.m. -Sunday, March 15 7:00 a.m.
Arena Maipu Stadium
• Cost: AR$800-$20,000, price depends on seating
• Tickets can be purchased in advanced on EventBrite