All of the Rio samba school and competitive bloco parades for carnival 2012
This year the Rio carnival samba school parades take place from Friday 17th February till Tuesday 21st Feb. The Rio samba school parades are arranged into competitive leagues. There are also leagues of blocos (smaller groups) which are competing for entry into the official Rio samba school leagues. Here are the dates and locations. There are hundreds more non league blocos parading all over Rio de Janeiro on the days of Carnival but I will list these elsewhere. Of all these events, you only need to buy tickets for three, the rest are all free.
Friday Feb 17th –
The children’s samba schools are parading in the sambodromo, entry free
Sat Feb. 18th –
* Grupo de acesso A. 9 samba schools are parading in the sambodromo from 8pm to 5am – entry by paid tickets only.
* Bloco group 1 is parading in the Rio Branco in the centre of town – (10 blocos, free entry)
* Bloco group 2 is parading in Estrada Intendente Magalhães-Campinho (10 blocos, free entry)
* Bloco group 3 is parading in Rua Cardoso de Moraes-Bonsucesso (9 blocos, free entry)
* Bloco group 4 is parading in Rua Cardoso de Moraes-Bonsucesso (5 blocos, free entry)
Sun Feb 19th –
* Grupo Especial (the top group). The first 6 samba schools are parading in the sambodromo from 9pm to 5.30am – ticket admission only (tickets must be bought in advance)
* Access group C. 14 samba schools are parading in In Estrada Intendente Magalhães in Campinho (free entry)
Mon Feb 20th –
* Grupo Especial. The final 5 samba schoolsare parading in the samba schools from 9pm to 4am- ticket admission only
* Access group C.13 samba schools are parading in Estrada Intendente Magalhães-Campinho (entry free)
Tuesday Feb 21st –
* Access group B. 11 samba schools are parading in the Sambodromo (free entry)
* Access group E. 12 samba schools are parading in Estrada Intendente Magalhães-Campinho (entry free)
Grupo Especial is the top group, parading in the sambodromo with the biggest schools, the most spectacular costumes and around 5000 people per samba school. These parades are so big that the 11 schools cannot all parade on one night, so half of them parade on Sunday and the rest on Monday nights. Grupo de Acesso A is also in the sambodromo, and is still pretty specatcular, though tickets are cheaper. You can buy tickets for these parades in advance online, or from tourist agencies in Rio. Grupo de Acesso B is in the sambodromo too, entrance is free, but the schools have much less money to spend on being spectacular.
The rest of the leagues also parade over carnival weekend. Their parades are much smaller, attendance is free, and they take place a long way out of town, at Estrada Intendente Magalhaes.
As well as these there are parades of blocos (street carnival groups) all over town, especially in the Rio Branco, Lapa, Copacabana and Ipenima. Some blocos are considerably larger than the biggest samba schools and everyone can join in, rather than just watching.