Thousands of people are involved. Some design and create elaborate costumes and floats. Those who will be performing in the parade practice the samba songs for the 75-minute dance down a narrow, 700-yard route. The stadium is packed with exuberant fans cheering for their favorite school (community group), and millions more watch (and dance along) on television. Like a sports game in the USA, many of the lucky fans with tickets wear their school colors or buy a school jersey at the Sambodromo.
These schools have performed in Rio's Samba Parade for decades, and 14 of the best perform at the Sambodromo on the Sunday and Monday nights (seven each night) before Ash Wednesday. Each school develops a theme and a new samba song. About a half dozen floats and 30+ different costumed groups support each school's theme and dance down the parade route singing the samba song over and over and over. Drummers, a band, loudspeakers, and screaming spectators keep the volume and intensity up. It's an amazing celebration that goes on from about 9 pm until almost dawn!
These photos from the Rio Samba Parade were taken on a Carnaval cruise to Rio on Celebrity Cruises' Infinity that included tickets to the Sambodromo parade.