Carnival spirit overtakes Rio de Janiero

8th Feb 2013

Holidaymakers on group tours and droves of locals are flocking to Rio de Janiero for the annual Rio Carnival.

The annual five-day festival is awash with sizzling samba and colourful parades and marks one of the biggest and brightest cultural events in Brazil.

The event was set to launch when the Mayor of Rio de Janiero, Eduardo Paes, hands over the keys to the city to King Momo.

King Momo, real name Milton Rodrigues da Silva, was set to kick-off the official celebrations, however eager locals have already started their own festivities with the city hosting weekend-long street parties known as 'blocos' over the past fortnight.

The 72,500-capacity Sambódrome will be the focal point on Sunday and Monday evening as scantily-clad dancers and intricate floats descend on the Oscar Niemeyer designed stadium.

More than 900,000 people are predicted to attend the carnival this year, up 5.8% on 2012.

State officials predict the carnival will generate $665 million worth of sales in bars, restaurants and hotels, providing a massive boost towards the local economy, creating 250,000 jobs in the process.

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