By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – As Carnival reaches its last official date (February 9th) of the 2016 season, Rio de Janeiro will have one more day of blocos (street parties) spread out across the city. Of the 505 officially licensed blocos for the year, there will be 103 today, starting at 10AM and some ending as late as 1AM.
Some of the largest happening today are the A Rocha Da Gávea, where an estimated 12,000 people will parade from Praça Santos Dumont down Rua Marquês De São Vicente and Rua Vice-Governador Rubens Berardo to Terminal Da Puc between 10AM-2PM.
Also in nearby Jardim Botânico is Vagalume O Verde, where an estimated 15,000 people will parade from Rua Jardim Botânico down Rua Pacheco Leão to Praça Santos Dumont from 10AM-2PM. Another famous early bloco was in Santa Teresa, the Carmelitas bloco parades again, today with approximately 10,000 people between 10AM-2PM.
These early blocos are relatively small, and preferred by many, like Rane Souza, who is from Minas Gerais but has lived in Rio for years, and is the owner at RS Language Services. She explains that her favorite are, “The blocos, especially the small ones, that are not sponsored by big companies are the result of a community effort to organize the party. People who share similar interests bond and work for months long to set the stage for a show full of joy, peace, love, fun, and solidarity. The true spirit of Carnival.”
As far as what blocos Souza went to this year, she added, “I went to Boi Tatá because it’s at a nice spot downtown Rio, Praca XV. It’s super close to Largo do Teles, so I had the option of heading there, enjoy other blocos, and even sit at a bar for awhile. Also, boi tata band is amazing and they celebrate Amazonian culture in a beautiful way.”
Some blocos are much larger, and draw massive crowds, like today the Orquestra Voadora in Botafogo will draw an estimated 80,000 people to parade in Aterro Do Flamengo from 3PM-7PM. Also the Empurra Que Pega Do Leblon (in Leblon) is expecting 80,000 people to parade from Avenida Ataulfo De Paiva down Avenida Bartolomeu Mitre to Rua Carlos Góis between 4PM-8PM.
On of the last major blocos will be the Banda De Ipanema (in Ipanema), drawing an estimated 90,000 people to parade from from Rua Gomes Carneiro down Avenida Vieira Souto, Rua Joana Angélica, and Rua Visconde De Pirajá to Praça General Osório from 5:30 PM-10PM.
Whether a fan of large or small blocos, there is no denying that they are part of the culture and represent Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Luiz Henrique, who works for luxury real estate firm Rio Exclusive shared, “The blocos bring a festive atmosphere to the city […] They are important for the Carnival because through them the big Carnival [samba school parades] at the Sambodromo exists, and [still] keeps the musical tradition of old Carnivals.”
For a complete list of all Rio Carnival 2016 blocos, see the wikirio page. Readers should know that while some blocos are family-friendly, the larger blocos may not be appropriate for children, and tennis (sneakers) footwear is advised, as is drinking lots of water and queuing up for the bathroom portable toilets early, as the fine this year for public urination is R$510.