By Nicole Froio, Contributing Reporter RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The whole city is getting ready for Carnival, and this weekend the entertainment is completely free at Rio’s Sambódromo. Technical rehearsals of samba schools from the Grupo Especial (Special Group) will be taking place Saturday and Sunday. Beija-Flor de Nilópolis practice during the 2012 Carnival Technical Rehearsals in the Sambódromo, photo by Marina Herriges/Riotur. On Saturday January 12th, the Marques de Sapucai Sambódromo will see the likes of Inocentes de Belford Roxo, São Clemente and Imperatriz Leopoldinense coming down the runway. On Sunday, Mangueira and Grande Rio will take their turn to prepare for the final performance, with Mangueira, in accordance to its performance of last year, bringing two baterias (drum bands) to the runway. Next weekend, Saturday, January 19th, will see the samba schools Porto da Pedra from the Access Group A (A Series) and Portela and Beija-Flor from Grupo Especial (Special Group). On Sunday, the Sambódromo will be used by Unidos da Vila Isabel and Salgueiro, also from Grupo Especial. Technical rehearsals start at 8PM, and will continue to take place every weekend until February 3rd, when last year’s Carnival Champions Unidos da Tijuca will take the stage and the sound testing will take place. Samba schools will also have their own parties to celebrate the season, with Portela participating in an open air event at 1PM at Oswaldo Cruz on Sunday January 13th. It has been predicted that around 10,000 people will be present, enjoying the likes of shrimp feijoada, angu à baiana (Angu from Bahia) and feijão amigo (Friendly Beans). Next weekend, Unidos da Tijuca will also celebrate at Windsor Barra (Avenida Sernambetiba 2630, Barra da Tijuca) from 2PM to 7PM. The party will have the cartoonist Lan as a theme and will feature the drums band of the school along with Juliana Alves, the new Rainha da Bateria (Queen of the Drums). Tickets are R$160. 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. Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.