By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The famous blocos (street parties) may seem like an enigma to travelers new to Rio's Carnival festivities, but with over 450 of these events officially licensed this year, they are both irresistible and unavoidable.

In general, the blocos emerged in Rio as open, free and democratic celebrations in contrast to the pricey and professional pageantry of the Sambódromo.

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