Carnaval in Brazil is a spectacle worthy of a spot on everyone’s bucket list, but if jetting down to South America isn’t an option this year, Austin’s Carnaval Brasileiro — a crazy, one-night dance party at the Palmer Events Center — comes pretty close to the real deal.
The local take on Brazil's massive festival has humble roots. Bummed to be missing the annual celebration, Brazilian students at UT held the first local version of the fest in 1975 in one room of Austin’s Unitarian Church. Fast-forward about four decades, and Carnaval is easily one of the biggest parties in the city. Every year, hoards of Austinites decked out in sequins, feathers, headdresses and masks (or occasionally nearly nothing at all) revel the night away at what’s described as a “peculiar winterfest of flesh and fantasy.” While smaller than, say, São Paulo’s, the festival prides itself on authenticity. Patrons can expect live Brazilian beats, played on Brazilian instruments, and songs in the country’s primary language, Portuguese.
And don’t be ashamed if your Samba skills are a little subpar; just wear one of those masks, and no one will recognize you.
Carnaval will take place at the Palmer Events Center on February 27th. For tickets and more info, head here.