By Fiona Hurrell, Contributing Reporter RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Carnival has finally arrived, along with approximately 425 blocos (street parties) which are taking place across the city this weekend. Today (Saturday, February 18th) there will be a whopping 81 blocos, 27 in Zona Sul (South Zone), with some having started as early as 6:30 AM. The 2012 Carnival bloco Imprensa que eu Gamo, in Laranjeiras, photo by Evandro Matheus/Riotur. One of the most popular of the afternoon blocos happening today is the ‘Bloco do Barbas,’ which takes place in Botofogo. Boasting two samba parades this year, the entertainers are famous for hosing down revelers with water to keep them cool amidst the frantic samba and afternoon heat. The street parade is situated mainly on the corner of Rua Arnaldo Quintela at 3PM. Those planning to attend are advised to get there early since the streets are narrow and can get congested. Also starting at 3PM in Glória, is the Sassaricando Bloco, formed by crew members of a show that goes by the same name. This year the group has its own stage set up in the Praça Luís de Camões which promises lively entertainment. For a more relaxed, family orientated atmosphere, check out ‘Azeitona sem caroço’ Bloco on Rua Dias Ferreira 647, Leblon, also at 3PM. This particular bloco is popular among people of all ages and has a family friendly vibe. At 6PM, Banda de Ipanema, in Ipanema, will this year honor the popular ‘Cacique de Ramos’ Carnival band. The parade starts in Praça General Osorio, with easy access via General Osorio Metro station. It will journey down Avenida Vieira Souto and on through Rua Joana Angelica and Visconde de Pirajá, after which it will return to the square. A number of good bars and restaurants surround this area should the parade work up an appetite. Read more (in Portuguese). * The Rio Times Daily Update is a new feature we are offering to help keep you up-to-date with major news as it happens. Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.