Fiesta Days History
Photos and History
How did Montevideo Fiesta Days get started?
Fiesta Days, as it is known today, began as a festival to honor our sister-city relationship with Montevideo, Uruguay. This unusual relationship actually started back in 1905 when the 2 cities exchanged flags.
In 1932, in St. Paul Minnesota, a Folk Festival was founded for the purpose of celebrating Minnesota's diverse population, while building bridges between ethnic groups. Two years later this event turned into the Festival of Nations. This festival inspired events around the state with city and town festivals.
An enduring example of Minnesota Panamericana stands in our small south-central farming community of Montevideo - the statue of General Jose Artigas.- the George Washington of Uruguay and hero of the Uruguayan fight for independence. The eleven foot statue, weighing a ton and a half of bronze was a gift received with much fanfare in 1949 from the sister-city in Uruguay.
Loaded aboard the Moore-McCormack liner, "Mormacmar", at the port of Montevideo, Uruguay, this was no ordinary piece of cargo, indeed, a quite unusual story of inter-American relations. Scheduled to arrive in New York on April 30, 1949, it would be unloaded and then shipped to Minnesota. That year when the fiesta was held, the big event would be the formal dedication of the statue. The Governor of Minnesota and a senator came to Montevideo to participate in the event.
Each summer since, our city of Montevideo celebrates this sister-city relationship with a festival including fun-filled activities for all ages, bbq's, dances and parade.
As quoted in the April 1949 issue of the Mooremack News, "our congratulations for a joint effort in neighborliness, an effort that testifies to the imagination and splendid spirit of men and women who are doing something real to make this truly a single hemisphere, in thought and in action."