By Ciara Long, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This year’s Carnival in Rio might have officially ended on the last day of February, but the celebrations continued this weekend with the Champions Parade and more blocos in the streets. Monobloco, one of Rio’s largest and most popular, brought festivities to a close on Sunday, March 5th.
Monobloco was one of the 462 official blocos given permission to parade in Rio’s 2017 Carnival celebrations. According to Riotur, approximately 400,000 people attended the bloco which began outside CCBB in Centro at 9AM on Sunday and paraded along from Rua Primeiro de Março.
The bloco, which has toured internationally and draws thousands of people to public rehearsals before Carnival, was formed in 2000 by members of a Brazilian rock band, Pedro Luís e A Parede. Monobloco often attracts large crowds during Carnival with its mix of axé, MPB, samba-rock, and funk in addition to playing a selection of Carnival’s traditional samba music and popular marching songs.
An additional 29 blocos also took to Rio’s streets over the weekend, including Bloco das Poderosas with popular funk carioca singer Anitta and Mulheres de Chico on Saturday, March 4th. Boka de Espuma was the other large bloco taking place on Sunday, March 5th, while a handful of smaller blocos also took place across the city.
Anne Dorst, a Dutch expatriate living in Rio and director of De Rioranje School, shares her thoughts on the size of the post-Carnival celebrations. “From a tourist point of view […] they want to enjoy every second of Carnival to the fullest while they’re here. But for the people who live here I think only the real party animals go back out for another round for another weekend.”
The Champions Parade also took place in the Sambódromo on the evening of Saturday, March 4th, closing out the year’s competition. The highest scoring samba schools, including Beija-Flor, Acadêmicos do Grande Rio, Mangueira, Salgueiro and Mocidade Independente, performed once again from 10PM. This year’s winning school, Portela, were the evening’s final performance and continued as dawn approached.
Riotur estimated that approximately 1.1 million tourists were set to visit Rio during Carnival 2017, injecting around R$3 billion into the state’s economy. However, this does little to temper Rio’s current financial difficulty: the state needs to cut R$9 billion in expenses and raise an extra R$1.2 billion in revenue to comply with the financial bailout deal signed with the federal government.