Rio Gallery 4 (R) 465.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Three weeks on, just days before the annual party kicks off on Friday, a combination of community spirit, innovation and 20-hour working days have just about got the three groups in shape to parade through Rio's Sambadrome stadium this weekend.
Among the expected highlights of this year's festival of excess that draws about three quarters of a million visitors to Rio are appearances on parade floats by Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen, who will pose as ancient Greek sculpture Venus de Milo, and local singing legend Roberto Carlos.
Celebrities jostling for space in the coveted VIP boxes overlooking
the Sambadrome action will include actors Pamela Anderson, Jude Law and
-- according to some reports -- Leonardo DiCaprio, plus a host of
Brazilian soccer stars.
Carnival street parties, known as
"blocos," have shown no shortage of enthusiasm in recent days. City
officials complained of organizational problems after "flash mobs"
rallied through social networking sites like Twitter swelled
pre-Carnival parties to record numbers last weekend in the Ipanema and
Copacabana beach areas.