Brazil knows how to pitch a party. Every year, for four days preceding Ash Wednesday, the country shuts down for Carnival. It's Mardi Gras writ large, with parades rolling day and night, revelers packing the sidewalks, and colorful costumed characters dancing in the streets. Although Carnival season has already passed down in São Paulo, Memphians can still march to samba rhythms and savor the aromas of churrasco when Latino Memphis' annual festival pays tribute to Brazil in Overton Park this weekend.
The Latino Memphis' festival started small with a 5K followed by a salsa competition. Like the community it celebrates, the festival has grown, then blossomed into a day-long event highlighting the diversity of Latino culture.
- Festival de Brazil
Latino Memphis' communications director Fabiola Cervantes promises "Samba dancers, Brazilian martial arts, and a Brazilian pavilion where you'll be able to taste Brazilian food and learn all about Brazil in this huge, colorful tent at the center of the festival." There will also be a a Brazilian-infused Zumba class, samba dance classes, mask and musical instrument-building workshops, a soccer clinic, and more. Festivities kick off at 9 a.m. The parade, led by the University of Tennessee at Martin's percussion ensemble, starts at 11:30 a.m. Festival-goers are invited to to dress up in costumes and bring musical instruments to play.
Because parking is limited, organizers are encouraging people to carpool and ride bikes, and the first 75 cyclists to arrive will receive a gift. They have partnered with the Roo bus, which will shuttle festival attendees from parking locations at Christian Brothers University, Idlewild Church, and First Baptist Church.