By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Acadêmicos do Salgueiro will be the second school to parade down the famed Sambódromo on February 8th during the second night of Grupo Especial (Special Group) competition for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Carnival.

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In 2015, Salgueiro honored the settlement and development of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, photo by Raphael David/Riotur.

In 2015, Acadêmicos do Salgueiro, also known simply as Salgueiro, fell short of winning the Championship after presenting the enredo (theme), “Do fundo do quintal, saberes e sabores na Sapucaí” (From the background of the backyard, the knowledge and flavours in Sapucai). In overall scoring they lost to to Beija-Flor by just by 0.4 points.

Salgueiro is no stranger to Carnival victory. The popular school is a nine-time Carnival champion. They first won in 1960, and proved victorious again in 1963, 1965, 1969, 1971, 1974, 1975, 1993, and most recently in 2009.

The school originated in 1953 on Salgueiro Hill, located in Tijuca in Rio’s North Zone. The school was the result of a merger of two samba schools, Azul e Branco do Salgueiro (Salgueiro’s Blue and White) and Depois Eu Digo (Later I’ll Say it). Now represented by the colors red and white, Salgueiro is based in the neighborhood of Andaraí, also located in the North Zone.

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Salgueiro has the biggest followings among competing samba schools, photo by Marco Antônio Cavalcanti/Riotur.

Salgueiro won their first victory in 1960 after presenting the theme, “Quilombo dos Palmares,” a homage to a famous community of escaped slaves. That year the school was led by carnavalesco (Carnival designer) Fernando Pamplona.

In 1962, Arlindo Rodrigues took over the carnavalesco position and led the school to victory in 1963 with the theme, “Xica da Silva,” an homage to a famous slave and cultural icon in Brazilian history.

Rodrigues and Pamplona joined together in 1965 and helped lead the school to another title with the theme, “História do carnaval carioca – Eneida,” about the famous 1958 book “História do carnaval carioca” by Eneida de Moraes that chronicled the history of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Pamplona then stayed on as the sole Carnival designer and helped the school to win again in both 1969 and 1971.

Salgueiro then won back-to-back victories in 1974 and 1975, led by famous carnavalesco, Joãosinho Trinta. The school would go on to win the Championship again in 1993 and most recently in 2009 with the theme, “Tambor” (Drum). They also won Vice-Champion (Second Place) three times in recent years; 2012, 2014, and 2015.

This year, Salgueiro will present the theme “A Ópera dos Malandros” (The Opera of Tricksters). Working as a duo of carnavalescos for years, Renato Lage and Márcia Lage return this year to again lead the school.

Be sure to stay with The Rio Times to learn more about the other competing schools, winners and additional events during this year’s Carnival.

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