The sights, sounds, and aromas of Brazil are returning to Pompano Beach in October for Brazilian Festival. What started out as a one-day event in 2012 has turned into two days.
In its eighth year, Brazilian Fest is expected to draw more than 20,000 people to Pompano Beach Park, where there will be an estimated 45 multicultural-food vendors, a kids zone, extreme sports park, parading Samba and Capoeira performances, and four music acts on two concert stages.
Cover model and Latin Grammy-nominated Brazilian pop star Iza will headline the festival. Iza, whose given name is Isabela Cristina Correia de Lima Lima, got her start posting on YouTube singing covers of Beyoncé and Rihanna. Billboard recently named her to its list of “Five Female Latin Artists to Keep on Your Radar in 2019.” A favorite model and muse for Brazil's Vogue, Iza was also invited to become a judge on Brazil’s The Voice.
“To attract a superstar as notable as Iza to Pompano Beach is remarkable,” says Luciano Sameli, the festival’s co-founder and organizer. “It is a testament to how successful the Pompano Beach Brazilian Festival has become.”
Pompano's Brazilian Festival is in the largest in the southeastern U.S., Sameli says, and brings in crowds of more than 20,000 visitors. Pompano Beach has a large and vibrant Brazilian community and attracts many Brazilian tourists.
In addition to Iza, three shows are scheduled: Biquini Cavadão, a Brazilian rock band from Rio De Janeiro; Di Ferrero, the lead vocalist for NX Zero, an emocore band from São Paulo; and Sandamí, formerly of the Sambô group. For the kids and families, Lucas & Vinicius, the country duo featured on the TV show The Voice Kids, will perform.
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Adding to the line-up will be local bands, a festival kick-off gospel show, performances by the Brazilian Festival’s Samba dancers, guest performances by Capoeira acrobats, and Brazilian percussionists. A Community Awards ceremony will take place for best exhibitor, tastiest vendor, and most jammin’ local band. The main stage will pay tribute to colorful Brazilian art called Journey of the Mind.
Sameli says Brazilian Fest drew roughly 5,000 people in its first year, then 7,500 or so in 2013, and by 2016 attracted more than 20,000 festival goers. He says over the past eight years, the event has generated an estimated $40,000 in donations for local charities, contracted with 150 local businesses for services, and created 2,100 temporary jobs.
“The festival is truly a way of showing what the Brazilian community is capable of doing together," Sameli says, "that the Brazilian community is united.”
Pompano Beach Brazilian Festival. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, October 19, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, October 20, at Pompano Community Park, 820 NE 18th Ave., Pompano Beach; brazlianfestpompano. Tickets cost $5 via brazilianfestpompano.com.