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By Ciara Long, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Carnival 2017 officially begins tomorrow, on Friday, February 25th. While some Cariocas may choose to relax this evening in preparation for the biggest celebration of the year to begin, many will take advantage of the public holiday tomorrow by squeezing in one of the many blocos happening this evening.

Bloco Besame Mucho will kick off tonight's festivities in Santa Teresa, photo by Isabela Vieira/Agência Brasil. Brazil, Brazil News, Rio de Janeiro, Carnival, Carnival 2017, Carnival blocos, blocos da rua, blocos
Bloco Besame Mucho will kick off tonight’s festivities in Santa Teresa, photo by Isabela Vieira/Agência Brasil.

Six official blocos are scheduled to take to Rio’s streets this evening. Banda da Rua do Mercado and Bloco dus Impussivi both begin from 5PM in Centro, as will bloco Mostra o Fundo Que Eu Libero o Benefício. Meanwhile, Batuke Nuclear will start near Candelária from 6PM, and bloco Cobra Sarada will take place just outside Parque Eduardo Guinlé in the Zona Sul (South Zone), from 5PM until 8PM.

A handful of unofficial blocos are also popping up across the city. Bloco Besame Mucho will ease Santa Teresa’s residents into the Carnival spirit this evening from 7:30 PM, while Casa do Monte Alegre invites families with small children to join their celebrations from 5PM until 8PM. Blocos Caçadores do Pé Grande and Ocupa Carnaval will hold their own joint protest-party tonight from 5PM in Centro.

In the Zona Norte (North Zone), Bloco Rego do Edmundo will take place in Grajaú from 7PM, while Loucura Suburbana will kick off in Engheno de Dentro from 5PM until 8PM.

There are also public dance events taking place in the late afternoon and early evening, with a traditional roda de samba taking place in Praça Mauá from 3PM. Lindyhop group Lindy Riot will give a dance class at 8PM in Estilo da Lapa, followed by a swing jazz dance event running until midnight. Boulevard Rio Shopping, near the Vila Isabel neighbourhood, will offer a free, hour-long samba lesson from 6PM both tonight and tomorrow evening.

Meanwhile, Grupo Zanzar will perform from 8PM until 9:30 PM under the Lapa arches, while Orquestra Imperial will also perform this evening at Circo Voador. Cordão da Bola Preta also invites Carnival-goers to kick off the celebration early, with a live music and entertainment starting from 8PM.

Botafogo venue Durangos will host a Sonic the Hedgehog-themed night from 10:30 PM, lasting until 5AM for those wanting to start their Carnival celebrations this evening and to roll straight into the first blocos tomorrow morning.

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