Brazilians have a long, rich history of partying. Their world-famous street festivals can be traced as far back as the 1700s. The modern-day spectacle that draws millions to the South American nation every spring is a more modern invention from the early 20th Century. Regardless, the combination of music, dancing, and extravagant costumes and parades is one of their greatest exports, in particular to South Florida, which hundreds of thousands of Brazilians call home.
For those who couldn't make it to Brazilian Carnival in February, the Rio Olympics over the summer, or Miami Carnival during Columbus Day weekend but still need some of that passion and rhythm in their lives, they have one last opportunity before the end of the year. The fifth-annual Brazilian Fest Pompano Beach brings together all the best sights, sounds, and tastes of Brazil for one day only, this Saturday.
Admission is free for all ages, and families are more than welcome. A VIP package (18 and up) for $60 includes entrance to the VIP lounge and its open bar from 5 to 9 p.m., as well as a better view of all the evening's entertainment.
That entertainment includes a healthy collection of bands from around Broward and Miami-Dade, including a parade presented by the Boca Raton-based SambaLá Samba School. The 120-strong group of dancers, percussionists, and samba musicians will be accompanied by a dazzling array of costumes and an original show created and choreographed by the not-for-profit organization.
Appearing on the main stage from the beaches of Salvador, Bahia, will be Victor Souza and his band Macaxeira, which blends the traditions of samba and Jamaican roots reggae for a gentle and slick good-time groove. Also on hand will be Forró Cano e Cavela, billed as South Florida's only forró trio. Forró is a musical genre that typically incorporates the instrumental trio of an accordion, a triangle, and a zabumba. Band members Gabriella (vocals and triangle), Eduardo (bass drum), and Ataide (accordion) are considered the new kids on the block because the group formed only this year, but they already have a specific goal in mind: "The idea is mainly to spread culture. Through music, we found a way to honor the Brazilian northeast and show the public some of its wealth."
Meanwhile, the festival's headliner, Cidade Negra, has been around for a bit longer. Bringing 30 years of accolades, experience, and music, the Grammy-nominated group is hailed as Brazil's all-time-best reggae band. Cidade Negra's performance will be the culmination of an all-day event that features an additional stage, the City Stage, where local Brazilian acts will compete for cash prizes; a kids' zone, complete with an inflatable playground and obstacle course; and an exhibitors' zone housing more than 100 vendors.
Perhaps most important to an area filled with foodies is Brazil's Tasteland, promising everything from "the traditional Brazilian rodizio, churrasco, vatapa, pão de queijo e pastel to the sweet dream of brigadeiros, cocadas, doce de leite e pamonha." Getting food-drunk on classic Brazilian delicacies alone might be worth the drive.
Brazilian Fest Pompano Beach
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, October 22, at Pompano Beach Community Park, 820 NE 18th Ave., Pompano Beach; 305-803-0338; brazilianfestpompano.org. Admission is free.