By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Now that 2014 is officially here, the focus in Rio turns to preparations for the biggest party of the year, Carnival. Samba schools across the city are hard at work crafting costumes and floats and practicing their parades for the famed competition in Rio's Sambódromo and this year the samba school Império da Tijuca will kick off the main competition in the Grupo Especial (Special Group) on Sunday, March 2nd.

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