Expo 2012 Asuncion
There are several country shows each year in Paraguay, the biggest is in Mariano Roque Alonso on the outskirts of Asuncion and coincides with the school winter holiday. It is currently running until 22 July. It is open daily from 09.00 till 23.00 and is a reasonable 15000 pyg (currently 4400pyg/dollar) to get in.
We got there early in the morning as the crowds swell in the afternoon. The ABC newspaper reported that there were 350,000 visitors in the first week. 40000 on Friday, so a nice little profit.
In addition to the animals there are many companies exhibiting, from mobile phone companies, agroveternaria and animal husbandry related products, tractor and car manufacturers from all over the world, clothing retailers and electric domestic products all of which are said to have a lot of trade.
Paraguay is primarily an agricultural country and the animals are the stars here. There is a large arena where daily shows are held for different categories of cattle, sheep, goats and horses. These shows are not solely for entertainment. They are a serious showcase for the producers. As part of the experience, the commentator was explaining the qualities that should be present in each particular breed of animal.
The next show in the arena was to be Brangus cattle. These are beautiful hulks of the cow world, brown or black with some bulls reaching over 1000 kilos in weight.
During Expo the animals are housed in large sheds where the public can see them, this is a major attraction for children of all ages. The cows sheds are divided into the different breeds which included Brangus, Santa Gertrudis, Hereford and the Brahman with their distinctive humps. Some of the prize winners have details of the breeder, date of birth and weight above them, along with their rosettes. Although most of the animals here will be for show and breeding purposes, there are parrilla restaurants that sell asado from the different breeds of cow.
Outside the sheds is the show preparation area. The cows come here for a shampoo and brushing or oiling depending on the type of coat that they have. Nail extensions cost extra.
Outside the sheep Shed there was what sounded like a vacuum cleaner. We didn’t take too much notice, but once inside realised that it was in fact a vacuum cleaner. As well as having pure white, very neatly clipped wool a sheep was being vacuumed prior to her exhibition in the ring. There were also santa ines sheep. these are similar to goats in appearance. They are dark and have short coats making them more tolerant of the extremely hot chaco climate. Their meat is also similar to goat, the meat having a firmer texture and is less fatty.