By Ciara Long, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The city government of Rio de Janeiro has approved 462 blocos (street parades) for 2017 Carnival celebrations in the city. The official list of approved blocos was released on Friday, January 13th, by the city’s tourism agency Riotur.
The full list of approved blocos has 53 fewer than Carnival last year and totals at 463, out of 536 that applied. The current list details the name of each approved bloco and the neighborhood in which it will take place.
While a large numbers of blocos have been registered in Copacabana, Zona Sul’s (South Zone), the city’s historic Centro will see the highest number of blocos this year with 34 registered to take place in the area.
Details about the day, time and route of each bloco have yet to be announced and published. However Carnival 2017 was unofficially opened last weekend by bloco collective Desliga dos Blocos, which thousands of participants attended, the first official blocos took place over the weekend.
Bloco Spanta Neném opened the official festivities with their technical rehearsal on Saturday, January 14th at Flamengo’s Clube de Regatas (yacht club). They were joined by São Clemente samba school, bloco Simpatia é Quase Amor and other artists including funk artist Ludmilla and singer Toni Garrido.
Rio’s city government is hoping that the tourism boost that usually accompanies Carnival will help the city cope with the current financial crisis. Speaking to G1, Riotur president Marcelo Alves said that he hopes to see five million participants in this year’s Carnival, including 1.5 million tourists.
“We will only get out of the crisis if we treat and expand our vocation for tourism. We are in a very shameful situation and we need and will improve [that],” said Alves. “Carnival is our main product to boost tourism in Rio. Carnival is beyond all barriers and there is no one in the world who does not know and wants to participate in all this.”
Carnival 2016 had 505 blocos participating, and attracted 4.75 million participants. While the number of approved blocos is lower this year, the city is anticipating an approximate 577 bloco parades to happen prior to and during Carnival 2017 and hopes to gain around R$3 billion from the festivities.
A full list of this year’s blocos is available on page eight of the city government’s daily agenda.