By Laura Madden, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Carnival in Rio continued over the weekend with blocos on Sunday drawing crowds in the tens of thousands. The Aterro do Flamengo was closed to car traffic for the Bangalafumenga Bloco, which clocked 60,000 visitors, according to RioTur. The bloco’s fifteenth Carnival parade featured a circus theme with clowns, stilt-walkers and fire-breathers at Flamengo Park’s Monument to Pracinhas.

Bangalafumenga Bloco, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Bangalafumenga’s circus act took over the Aterro do Flamengo with 60,000 visitors, photo by Evandro Mateus/Riotur.

Bangalafumenga’s singer, Rodrigo Maranhão, was emotionally moved by mood of the crowd. From the top of a car, he joked that “Banga” has no drum corps queen with any sponsorships or who “married up.”

“Our queen is the Maricota chicken!” Maranhão said, referencing a Brazilian children’s book character whose adventures featured themes of love, friendship, education and faith.

In the past, Banga used to have its parade on Rua Jardim Botânico, but this year was transferred to the Aterro because of its large following. In 2010, according to its organizers, more than 100,000 people participated in its parade.

Banga’s drum corps is made up of 118 players, not including band musicians. One of the integral percussion members is Robert Patterson, also known as “Jacaré” (alligator). The American has a samba school in Texas, and played for his first time in Rio this year.

“The best thing about street carnival in Rio is how happy people are,” says Patterson. “I feel at home here.

Other huge blocos on Sunday included Cordão do Boitatá in Centro, the city’s center, and Ipanema’s Simpatia É Quase Amor, which drew 150,000 according to Riotur.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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