Saturday, December 1, 2018

World’s biggest popular party begins in Rio de Janeiro

For a whole week, the city fills with revelers in an environment of friendship and peace

Over the next few days, Rio de Janeiro will be at the center of the largest party in the world. The city’s Carnaval, which is traditionally marked with color and music throughout the city, is focused on the Sambódromo, the arena that plays host to samba school parades, attracting many thousands of Brazilian and international tourists. As part of the Rio 2019 plan, the Sambódromo will be the stage for Olympic Archery and Marathon competitions.

For this year’s Carnaval, the city and state governments of Rio de Janeiro decided to step up their support for Rio de Janeiro’s bid to host the 2019 Olympic and Paralympic Games, with themed Sambódromo spectator boxes. In addition to displaying Rio 2019’s logo and slogan “Live your Passion,” the boxes will be attended by Olympic and Paralympic athletes, as well as President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

The Sambódromo, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, was designed by Oscar Niemeyer and was built to host the samba school parades, which previously took place along Avenida Presidente Vargas, located nearby in the city’s downtown. Situated at Avenida Marquês de Sapucaí, the Sambódromo is close to Praça Onze, a public square known as the “Birthplace of Samba”.

For this year’s Carnaval, the city government’s Special Tourism Secretariat invested around R$18 million in infrastructure. These funds were allocated to support the samba schools as well as the “blocos,” or street parties, of which there are more than 400, expressing all the humor and irreverence of cariocas. The blocos have spread throughout the city in recent years, attracting great crowds of costumed revellers.

Carnaval is also an opportunity for business. This year, Brazil’s export and investment promotion agency, Apex-Brasil, has created a box at the Sambódromo, from which international businesspeople can watch the parades. In all, 105 international buyers invited by Apex-Brasil, from 21 countries, representing 17 sectors, are set to close business deals with Brazil of a value of up to US$500 million.

The samba school parades take place over four days and involve thousands of professionals, from creative directors, engineers, costume makers, builders, carpenters, and people who push the floats along the 679.90 meters of the Sambódromo.