By Michela DellaMonica, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – From Rio’s Copacabana Beach to the edge of the Amazon River, FIFA sponsored Fan Fests are public viewing spaces to further the experience in watching the World Cup matches. In conjunction with FIFA, host city officials at each location, TV Globo and the Seven Fan Fest Sponsors, will make all the Fan Fest venues unique in their own way.
The Fan Fest in Manaus will look over the spot where the Negro and the Amazon rivers meet at the Water Memorial. The space has an upper area over nine thousand square meters, known as Embratel Watchtower. In the east area of the capital of the state of Amazonas, the complex will be made up by a pavilion shaped as a tepee, with an underground level with a restaurant and a panoramic view.
In the capital city of the state of Minas Gerais, in the city of Belo Horizonte, FIFA chose Estação Square as the place to host the Fan Fest. In the central area of the city, the square used to house the old train station, which today is used for the metro. The place has been the stage of many interesting events, including public viewing of 2010 World Cup matches.
Every year, the Senator Jonas Pinheiro Exhibition Park in Cuiabá hosts the agriculture and livestock fair of the state of Mato Grosso. It has an area of eighteen acres and is in Cuiaba’s port region. The place will be refurbished to house the Fan Fest complete with parking, a food court, official FIFA shops and several shows and culture events.
The Barigui Park is one of Curitiba’s largest parks. Opened in 1972, the park has native vegetation and a 400,000 square meter lake. The word barigui has indigenous origins and translates to “river of the thorny fruit”, referring to the pine fruit that falls from the many local pine trees. The park has sport equipment, a country club headquarters, and many other attractions for the fans that will attend the Fan Fest in host city.
In Fortaleza, Iracema Beach is named after the character in a novel by acclaimed author from the state of Ceará, José Alencar. One of the city’s postcard picture beaches with a sidewalk used for sport and leisure, Iracema Beach is filled with bars and restaurants and is the central point in the host city of Fortaleza.
In Brasília the Esplanada dos Ministérios (The Ministries’ Promenade) is a sweeping lawn perfect for gathering large crowds together, which has also served as a stage to many protests and events. The federal capital city is known for its plane shaped urban project. The Esplanada dos Ministérios houses government buildings, built in two rows, with a lawn in the middle dividing the road in half.
The capital of the state of Rio Grande do Norte is one of the cities that receives the most tourists in Brazil. The place chosen for the public viewing of World Cup matches is one of Natal’s biggest attractions: Forte Beach. It is known as the Fortress of the Wizard Kings, built in 1598, and is a landmark of the city. The beach is known for corals that turn into natural pools and has artisanal restaurants and bar kiosks along the beach.
In Porto Alegre, the Glênio Peres Square is in the center of the capital of Rio Grande do Sul. The floor of the square is similar to a Persian carpet with slabs in grey basalt and black, white and pink Portuguese rock. Inaugurated in 1992 the square, which has been the stage of cultural events and political protests, will host Fan Fest in 2014.
Another beach to be chosen to host Fan Fests at the 2014 World Cup, Jardim de Alah is in the Costa Azul area in Salvador, 15 km away from the city center. The “garden” is an area made up by rocks with coconut trees, and during low tide little pools sprout up. The place is surrounded by stands and has a park with spaces aimed at sport, leisure and the culture of Salvador.
In the center of São Paulo, the Anhagabaú Valley has gardens, several sculptures, and water fountains and hosts cultural events throughout the years. Turned into a park in 1910, the place has been the sight of protests, such as the one in 1984, which brought together 1.5 million people arguing in favor of direct elections in Brazil.
At present Recife is not planning to hold the Fan Fest citing security concerns. Lawyers representing the city of Recife, said that it will not be a breach of contract as, “there only exists the intention to host a FIFA Fan Fest, but failure to do so will not result in a fine or punishment.”