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AP PHOTOS: Ox Cart Festival celebrates Brazil colonial days

In this July 20, 2017 photo, youths talk during the night before the trip to the Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Festival in Vazante, Minas Ger...
In this July 20, 2017 photo, a cowboy gets warm next to the camp fire, the night before the ascent to the Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Festi...
In this July 21, 2017 photo, brothers Harley Nunes, left, and Eduardo Nunes prepare for the dance at the camp, the night before the ascent to the Serr...
In this July 20, 2017 photo, "Dionisio of the Accordion," plays during the dance at the camp, the night before the ascent to the Serra da Boa Vista, d...
In this July 20, 2017 photo, cowboys dance during the ball at the camp, the night before the ascent to the Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Fest...
In this July 21, 2017 photo, cowboys have a chat at sunrise, before the ascent of the Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Festival in Vazante, Mina...
In this July 21, 2017 photo, a cowboy drives his team of oxen, before the ascent to the Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Festival in Vazante, Mi...
In this July 22, 2017 photo, a cowboy rears up his horse before the ascent to the Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Festival in Vazante, Minas Ge...
In this July 21, 2017 photo, a woman prepares breakfast on the camp fire at sunrise, before the ascent to the Serra da Boa Vista, during Ox Cart Festi...
In this July 21, 2017 photo, a cowgirl puts on her boots at sunrise, before the ascent to the Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Festival in Vazan...
In this July 20, 2017 photo, cowboy Joaquim Silveira, prepares his oxen for the ascent of Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Festival in Vazante, ...
In this July 21, 2017 photo, the shadow of a cowboy is projected on his ox, before the ascent to the Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Festival i...
In this July 21, 2017 photo, ox carts trundle to the Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Festival in Vazante, Minas Gerais state, Brazil. Most cart...
In this July 21, 2017 photo, ox carts climb the Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Festival in Vazante, Minas Gerais state, Brazil. Apart from the...
In this July 21, 2017 photo, ox carts climb the Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Festival in Vazante, Minas Gerais state, Brazil. The ox carts w...
In this July 21, 2017 photo, a cowboy drives his team of oxen, during the ascent to the Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Festival in Vazante, Mi...
In this July 22, 2017 photo, a cowboy takes cover from the sun under an umbrella as he drives his ox cart through the Serra da Boa Vista, during the O...

In this July 20, 2017 photo, youths talk during the night before the trip to the Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Festival in Vazante, Minas Ger...

In this July 20, 2017 photo, a cowboy gets warm next to the camp fire, the night before the ascent to the Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Festi...

In this July 21, 2017 photo, brothers Harley Nunes, left, and Eduardo Nunes prepare for the dance at the camp, the night before the ascent to the Serr...

In this July 20, 2017 photo, "Dionisio of the Accordion," plays during the dance at the camp, the night before the ascent to the Serra da Boa Vista, d...

In this July 20, 2017 photo, cowboys dance during the ball at the camp, the night before the ascent to the Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Fest...

In this July 21, 2017 photo, cowboys have a chat at sunrise, before the ascent of the Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Festival in Vazante, Mina...

In this July 21, 2017 photo, a cowboy drives his team of oxen, before the ascent to the Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Festival in Vazante, Mi...

In this July 22, 2017 photo, a cowboy rears up his horse before the ascent to the Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Festival in Vazante, Minas Ge...

In this July 21, 2017 photo, a woman prepares breakfast on the camp fire at sunrise, before the ascent to the Serra da Boa Vista, during Ox Cart Festi...

In this July 21, 2017 photo, a cowgirl puts on her boots at sunrise, before the ascent to the Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Festival in Vazan...

In this July 20, 2017 photo, cowboy Joaquim Silveira, prepares his oxen for the ascent of Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Festival in Vazante, ...

In this July 21, 2017 photo, the shadow of a cowboy is projected on his ox, before the ascent to the Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Festival i...

In this July 21, 2017 photo, ox carts trundle to the Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Festival in Vazante, Minas Gerais state, Brazil. Most cart...

In this July 21, 2017 photo, ox carts climb the Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Festival in Vazante, Minas Gerais state, Brazil. Apart from the...

In this July 21, 2017 photo, ox carts climb the Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Festival in Vazante, Minas Gerais state, Brazil. The ox carts w...

In this July 21, 2017 photo, a cowboy drives his team of oxen, during the ascent to the Serra da Boa Vista, during the Ox Cart Festival in Vazante, Mi...

In this July 22, 2017 photo, a cowboy takes cover from the sun under an umbrella as he drives his ox cart through the Serra da Boa Vista, during the O...

VAZANTE, Brazil (AP) — As the sun sets, the campground buzzes as people pitch tents and set up kitchens on the green fields of rural Vazante, a city in Brazil's southeastern state of Minas Gerais.

The dance that brings together farming families of the region is beginning, marking the opening of the Ox Cart Festival that features young men and women dressed like American cowboys, complete with boots, dungarees, striped shirts and Stetsons.

The festival is an annual party that the region's farmers have been holding for more than 100 years. Taking place over three days in July to celebrate the corn harvest, it harkens back to colonial times, when ox carts were the main means of transportation.

After a night of revelry, in the morning cowboys climb up on their ox carts and begin crossing the Serra da Boa Vista mountain range.

The uphill ascent of more than 12 miles (20 kilometers) includes winding paths and dusty slopes. Besides the equipment and utensils used in the camp, each cart also carries several pounds (kilograms) of corn, symbolizing the region's abundant harvest.

As the day comes to an end, most of the 86 ox carts have made it to the top of the mountain range. Just a few young cowboys, strong but inexperienced, fail to drive their carts to the finish line.

"It is a moment when we relive our past and recall the importance of the ox, because without it we do not live," said Joaquim Silveira, a 74-year-old who has participated in the festival since he was 12.


Updated : 2021-01-16 10:28 GMT+08:00