By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With less than a week until the official Carnival dates, the festival’s famous blocos – Carnival street parties – have drawn big crowds over the weekend. Between 70,000 and 80,000 foliões (revelers) descended on the traditional “Simpatia é Quase Amor” bloco on the Ipanema circuit, Zona Sul (South Zone), on Saturday, according to Riotur.

Rio Crnival bloco, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
The traditional “Simpatia é Quase Amor” bloco in Ipanema drew up to 80,000 reveleres on Saturday, photo by Fernando Maia/Riotur.

This year the party paid homage to poet Vinícius de Moraes, famed for depicting the color and beauty of the area in his work, as well as to the sea goddess Iemanjá.

In Leblon, also Zona Sul, the “Imaginô? Agora Amassa!” bloco drew in some 12,000 partygoers many in ‘fantasy’ costumed outfits – from native Indians to superheroes.

On Friday, many Cariocas left work early to join 100,000 revelers at the famous Cordão da Bola Preta bloco, in Rio’s Centro district – the city’s longest-running Carnival bloco, originally founded in 1918.

Although many of those celebrating are generally on the younger end of the scale, that has not stopped a number of octogenarian drummers from taking part in the processions, to the crowd’s delight.

Public disturbances have been at a minimum, but there have been reports of partygoers being arrested after urinating in the streets, despite extra facilities being provided, the authorities say.

Today’s bloco highlights include: Chora Me Liga (Copacabana), Gigantes da Lira (Laranjeiras), Suvaco de Cristo (Jardim Botânico), and Fogo e Paixão (Centro).

Road diversions will be in operation around the city through the bloco and Carnival season, and motorists are advised to check their route online before setting off.

A list of Rio blocos for this week can be found here.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.

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