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Rio's flamboyant Carnival parade is back after the pandemic

Brazil Carnival
Posted at 10:52 AM, Apr 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-23 11:06:35-04

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Rio de Janeiro’s samba schools have begun putting on this year's delayed Carnival parades, the first after a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19-pandemic.

Brazil Carnival
A dancer from the Tom Maior samba school performs on a float during a carnival parade in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, April 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

The schools' colorful floats and flamboyant dancers began entering the Sambadrome grounds late Friday to parade before tens of thousands of fans on the first evening of the two-night spectacle.

Rio’s Sambadrome has been home to the parade since the 1980s, and is a symbol of Brazil’s Carnival festivities.

Brazil Carnival
A performer from the Viradouro samba school parades during Carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, April 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)

During the pandemic, it was a shelter for more than 400 homeless people and also served as a vaccination station.

Sao Paulo also kicked off its Carnival parade Friday evening.

Both cities put off this year's parades for two months due to concerns about the proliferation of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.