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Brazil on fire one week before Carnival, with record-setting sales expected

By Laura Rodríguez and Jon Martín Cullell

São Paulo, Feb 5 (EFE).- Brazil’s carnivals have brought Brazilian cities to life. The economic engine that drives the festivities is in full swing, and this year’s festivities could generate up to nine billion reais (about $1.8 billion).

The National Confederation of Commerce predicts that this year’s celebrations will have a record revenue, 10% higher than last year.

It will also create 25,000 temporary jobs and achieve a hotel occupancy of over 60% nationwide.

In São Paulo’s Rua 25 de Março, a popular shopping spot for costumes, there’s barely room to walk on the crowded sidewalks surrounded by colorful stores filled with sequins and neon colors.

“Blessed Carnival,” proclaims a banner at one of the entrances. Karina Theodoro, the store manager, explains to EFE that the increase in sales began during the first week of January.

Among the customers looking through the colorful and shiny products is Mónica Gómez, who says she starts looking for accessories as soon as the previous Carnival ends.

Gómez’s budget for this year is around 200 reais (US$40), but some buyers spend over 500 reais (US$100) in a single purchase, according to Luiz Gustavo de Oliveira, manager of another store on 25 de Março.

São Paulo Samba Factory

The São Paulo Samba Factory, where everything needed for the parades is made, has been preparing for months to celebrate the Carnival at the Sambadrome.

Massive gates hide each samba school’s float, where painters and welders work tirelessly on each detail before next weekend’s parade.

Luiz Robles, coordinator of Vai-Vai school, the biggest city’s champion since 1930, reveals that preparations began in March 2023. Despite the early start, he explains that “the biggest challenge is always to be on time.”

The school spends about three million reais (US$603,743) on such a massive project, creating around 600 jobs, but the Carnival economy extends beyond the parades.

The sector has evolved over the years to offer a wide range of options for all audiences, from those who want to enjoy the festivities on the streets with the bare minimum to those seeking a more exclusive environment.

Private parties moving millions

In Salvador, the capital of Bahia, entrepreneur Luciana Villas-Boas runs Camarote Salvador. A private party, which employs about 5,000 people directly or indirectly, and where daytickets cost up to 4,500 reais (US$902).

In addition to the usual electronic music and Brazilian samba concerts, this year’s show includes a concert by Colombian reggaeton artist J Balvin. “Reggaeton was the missing rhythm,” said Villas-Boas. EFE

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