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Street Carnival Grows in Popularity in São Paulo and Rio

01/30/2015 - 09h03

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FROM SÃO PAULO

Carnival - the pagan party that was born on the streets and was then quartered into clubs and sambadromes - is back to the streets (and for free) with more intensity each year.

São Paulo, where the celebration was for a long time boiled down to Anhembi - the carnival specific venue where tickets have to be purchased in order to watch the parade - saw the number of street groups rise by 400% in two years.

In 2015, 300 of them will take over the city, 80 more than last year, when, according to SPTuris (a municipal tourism company), each attracted 5,000 people on average.

In Rio, where carnival attracts millions of tourists, the 456 groups should attract 5 million people to the streets, according to Riotur (a municipal tourism company).

Sapucaí (Rio's carnival specific venue, whose cheapest ticket costs US$61) usually attracts 1 million people.

The crowd looks for groups like Cordão da Bola Preta, in Rio, which, on its own attracted around 1.5 million people last year.

Agora Vai and Sargento Pimenta, in São Paulo, like many others, parade for weeks before carnival.

This year, the national holiday is set to start on Saturday 14 February.

Both capitals have half of its accommodation capacity booked up. That is to say there are still rooms left for those who have not planned their trip.

While São Paulo hotels have discount prices of up 60%, in Rio, however, hotel charges have increased by at least 20%.

Translated by CRISTIANE COSTA LIMA

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