When the champions of the Special Group are declared on Ash Wednesday, the top six schools come back for their final showdown to at the Winner’s Parade on Saturday.
The parade is undoubtedly the second best to watch, with the top six samba schools free from the pressure of competition, leaving them with more room to enjoy themselves and prove their ranking at the top. The Winner’s Parade marks the end of festivities until Easter.
The energy levels are not different from Carnival Sunday or Monday. The Sambadrome is packed with thousands of spectators that wish to samba for one last time in the season.
The Carnival in Rio reaches a feverish pitch on Sunday and Monday when the top 12 samba schools and their bevy of deliciously bronzed samba dancers, colorful floats, and samba drummers, whose beats thump right through the hearts of 80,000 spectators, set the Sambadrome alight.
Each school has 85 minutes to prove they are the champions of the samba. 40 judges who keep a keen eye on the proceedings as they award points on a number of criteria decide their fate.
From the flag bearer to the costumes, theme, and samba song, each team is awarded points, which ultimately decides the champion.
Manugeira, Beija Flor and Grande Rio, many samba schools have had their moment of glory and their supporters will wait anxiously for the results that are declared on Ash Wednesday.
The judges declare their verdict on Ash Wednesday, after which one team is handed over the prestigious championship title.
Emotions run high on the day as samba school members relive each moment they spent in the preparation of their school’s performance. From the Carnival designer to the fashion designer and electrician, there are thousands of workers involved in the making of those incredible floats and creative costumes that take months to design and build.
Although one team emerges as the winner, Carnival enthusiasts know deep down in their hearts that every samba school is a champion in their own right.
The Winner’s Parade at the Sambadrome is an equally extravagant affair. Although the competitive spirit of the samba schools may be toned down, true to carioca culture where things are never done in half measure, the samba schools put up the most extravagant, beautiful, and sexy spectacle once more.
The Sambadrome is packed to capacity and the crackling music and frantic applause of the spectators reverberate in the stadium, sending cariocas into a Carnival trance for one last time in the season. No seat is left empty although they are not used much since singing and dancing to the samba is definitely contagious.
The Winner’s Parade provides participants a great opportunity to prove their dominance in every aspect. While some of the samba schools may give everyone a lesson in bateria (drum ensemble), others may show off their dancing skills, which is what captivates spectators the most even in the 36 degree heat that goes up a few notches with the electrifying entertainment.
The Winner’s Parade is an event to witness the most brilliant effects where tradition and technology blend effortlessly, thanks to the stunning choreography by members of each samba school. Participants parade in the very same costumes that brought them to the winner’s group. Undoubtedly, the Winner’s Parade is a night full of emotion and splendor.
Be sure to plan your trip and book your tickets for the Winner’s Parade in advance since they sell out really fast. After the parade the Carnival may be over for some of us, but for the samba schools and designers there is just one month before preparations for the next Carnival begin.