Gay Carnival Saturday in Rio

Gay Carnival Saturday is actually the first official day. Friday was just a warm-up. In addition to the Samba Parade and fabulous dance parties, today is your first chance to experience a Mega-Bloco. We will elaborate on that.

Blocos and Street Festivities

You already understand how street parades work. These are free events with live music, and everyone is welcome to join in. On Carnival Saturday, you have a choice of two very traditional events 

Cordão da Bola Preta is Mega-Bloco in the true sense of the word. They attract as many as one million people to celebrate on Rua Primeiro de Março, in Centro. They have been doing this for over 100 years – Bola Preta is the oldest Bloco in town! 

Banda de Ipanema is another highlight on Gay Carnival Saturday. Banda was not created for the LGBTQ+ community. The founders started parading in the 60s, and haven’t stopped since. This is more of a neighborhood bloco than a massive parade, yet it is always a lot of fun.

Drag queens started ‘crashing the party’ a long while ago, contributing with some of the most elaborate, impossible, or hilarious costumes. You are more than welcome to participate. Beware that if you’re in a fun costume you’re fair game, and everyone will ask you to stop for a photo. Brazilians are famous huggers. Be prepared for all the attention. 

Balls & Off-Carnival Parties

We do not want to overwhelm you with too many alternatives so we picked out two favorites for this Saturday. 

Bloco da NuBrilho starts at 4 p.m. at Jardins do MAM, in Centro. This is a party promoted by the LGBTQ+ community of the North Side of Rio, and you may run into new people in a party mode. 

The Home is on Rua Sacadura Cabral, 135. Their special this Saturday is XLSIOR Mykonos, starting at 11 p.m. This large club is very popular, and they are presenting different attractions every night. Check it out.

Carnival Samba Parade

This is the second night of the Parade of Golden Group Samba Schools. Despite the name, these aggremiations were formerly known as the Access Group. The champion is promoted to the Special Group, and has the honor of marching next year on Carnival Sunday or Monday.

A good thing is that tickets to the Golden Group Parade are more reasonably priced. If you are not on a tight budget consider staying in a catered box. A buffet and drinks are usually included. Posher boxes may offer transportation, too. 

The best-priced tickets are for bleacher seats. They are not the most comfortable, yet they offer a privileged view from above. Sector 1, right at the beginning of the Samba Runway, has discounted tickets. It’s usually the most lively, with many spectators from the communities where the Samba Schools are based. Read more about The Samba Parade at our parent website.