By Katya Gubarev, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Petrópolis plans to be a major tourist destination during the winter months (June-August) once again. After the heavy rains devastated the state of Rio de Janeiro, Petrópolis is gearing up to host its annual events, hoping to recuperate some of the losses from the sharp drop in tourism in late January and February.
According to the most recent numbers collected by the Civil Defense of Petrópolis, over 900 people across Região Serrana, the mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro State were killed, with 74 deaths registered in Petrópolis.
With reconstruction in progress, the city mayor Paul Mustrangi ensures that Petrópolis is safe and urges those in Rio to “show solidarity by to visiting, buying the products and staying in our hotels”.
Juliana Boller, an actress from Petrópolis now living in Rio now explained; “Actually, the disaster didn’t affect the center of Petrópolis, which is the part of the city frequented more by tourists. The most affected places were the rural areas.”
Boller continues, “There were some high-end resort hotels destroyed, but long term I don’t think tourism will be harmed because of it. The event was very sad though, and many people are still homeless now.”
To help recover, the beautiful colonial city is host to three winter festivals that usually attract thousands of local and foreign tourists. The festivals offer a wide variety of entertainment – anything from boisterous street folk dancing to Jazz-listening in the Crystal Palace whose clear glass walls resemble an elaborate green house.
Cariocas and expats in Rio have already started planning their weekend getaway and booking ahead of time because generally hotels fill up quickly. “I go every year, trying to get a few weekends off,” says Carlos Carvalho, a resident of Rio, “because there is so much free music and great food.”
This year, Bauernfest will start off the festivities on the 22nd of June. Along with traditional German food and drink, the festival features Folk music and dancing. As Bauernfest ends, the 11th edition of the Winter Festival of Petrópolis begins and runs until the beginning of August, a favorite for the appreciators of Classical, Jazz and Popular music.
During the festival over forty presentations will be held in different locations in the historic center, including the Imperial Museum, Crystal Palace and the St. Peter of Alcantara cathedral.
Tickets are sold for reasonable prices, and many events are free. Last year, St. Peter’s cathedral was packed for the opening night featuring the violinists Daniel and Gabriela Guedes Queiroz playing the Vivaldi’s famous Four Seasons.
In 2010 the lovers of MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira, Brazilian Popular Music) will enjoyed the local talent like the Titans and Maria Gadu. The details for this year’s event can be found at www.dellarte.com.br.
And if two festivals are not enough to break up the winter blues, the Sesc Winter Festival continues the beat with free concerts of Brazilian music, Classical and popular theater, visual arts,dance, literature and cinema.
Spanning the three neighboring cities, Petrópolis, Nova Friburgo and Teresópolis, last year’s entertainment program took place between July 13rd and August 1st. The dates for this year haven’t been confirmed, but it is surely happening in the same time period.