March’s Feria Internacional del Aire y del Espacio, which takes place at Aeropuerto Los Cerrillos, the former airport in the comuna of Maipú, draws big crowds interested in general aviation; it’s also a showcase for international weapons manufacturers.
September’s patriotic holidays are an excuse for parties and parades, but the month can be contentious—September 11, the date of Pinochet’s coup, usually sees disturbances around Providencia’s Avenida 11 de Septiembre. September 18, Día de la Independencia (Independence Day), sees cheerful barbecues in the parks, but September 19’s Día del Ejército (Armed Forces Day) is more divisive.
While Halloween (October 31) is not really a Chilean holiday, in nonconformist Bellavista it’s one of the year’s biggest nights. Chileans customarily honor their dead on Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), November 2.
At the Estación Mapocho, November’s 10-day Feria de Libro (Book Festival) draws both Chilean writers and internationally recognized authors.
On the Mapocho’s north bank, Providencia’s Centro Cultural Montecarmelo (Bellavista 594, tel. 02/7770882) hosts an annual Fiesta de Cerámica (Ceramics Festival) during the two weeks before Christmas.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition