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Street Groups Motivate São Paulo Residents to Enjoy Carnival in the City

02/16/2015 - 11h50

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JAIRO MARQUES
LÍGIA MESQUITA
FROM SÃO PAULO

"Before, only those who did not like Carnival stayed in São Paulo. Now, the ones who love it also stay", says Priscila Ferreira, a 33 year-old administrator.

She has chosen the city's Carnival for the second year in a row.

Ferreira and other residents have decided to enjoy the party in the city rather than travelling as the number of street bands increased - 300 enrolled this year compared with 200 in 2014 - and they improved.

Those who embraced the motto "There is Carnival in SP" emphasize: it was a personal decision, not effected by lack of choice or the weak economy.

The publicist Felipe Avila, 33, believes the recent street events and movements that aim to occupy public spaces - such as parties in the city's squares and the activism to create Augusta Park - have contributed to build interest among local revellers.

According to the city's administration, in two or three years' time, São Paulo will be able to fight with Rio and Salvador for the title of the largest street Carnival in the country, with up to 500 groups on the streets.

However, despite the growth, São Paulo's street carnival does not attract as many tourists as the most traditional carnival destinations. Brazil's Hotel Industry Association expects it to occur in about two years.

This year, the association estimates the hotel occupancy rate was 47%.

Translated by JULIANA CALDERARI

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