By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Not nearly as famous as the Carnival parades in Rio de Janeiro, or the blocos (street parties) in Salvador or Recife, in the Northeastern part of the country, the number of people attending Carnival festivities in São Paulo has surged in the past few years.
According to São Paulo mayor, Fernando Haddad, this year the city is expected to register one of the best Carnivals in decades, with more than R$650 million in revenues being obtained by the city in the five days of festivities.
For Haddad, despite the economic woes facing Brazilians today, the increase in Carnival attendance has especially been notable in blocos. An estimated at R$400 million is almost double that of the official parades at the city’s sambodromo, which is estimated at R$250 million.
“Street parties generates more economic activity because they are held for more days, there are more blocos throughout the city,” said Haddad to reporters after arriving at sambodromo for the first day of São Paulo samba school parades.
As for the increased number of residents and visitors who choose São Paulo to spend their Carnival Haddad says it was just a matter of time before the city was ‘discovered’ as a Carnival destination.
“São Paulo is the largest city in the country and a city which let its population go during Carnival week. Today it is a city which calls the population to remain here and participate in the Carnival blocos,” said the mayor.
According to official data more than 355 blocos paraded through city streets this year in the five days of festivities, almost one hundred more than in the 2015 Carnival. The data also shows that more than 98 percent of its participants were residents of São Paulo city.