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Rio to bring a taste of Brazil to host city

From food fairs to flashmobs, the best of Brazil’s varied culture will be on display during Rio 2016. While sport will take centre stage, the rest of the city will be buzzing with music, art and street performances as well as a few surprises.

The cultural programme, known as Celebra and organised by Rio 2016, complements the line-up put on by Rio’s City Hall to ensure there will be something for everyone during the games. After its success earlier this year, there will be a food fair outside the Deodoro event zone, where visitors can try typical dishes from around Brazil including the Amazonian soup tacacá and Bahian shrimp and bean patties known as acarajé.

There are plans for flashmobs and street art while Japanese artist Mariko Mori will inaugurate her sculpture of a ring at the head of a waterfall outside of Rio.

“We want to show the longevity of Brazilian culture and not just the contemporaneity,” says Carla Camurati, Rio 2016’s Head of Culture. “The programme involves a comprehensive record of Brazilian culture, not just those that exist today but a broader tribute to Brazilian culture.”

Ms Camurati said there would be small, spontaneous activities along with larger events like the launch of the official Rio 2016 posters. The posters, which were designed by 13 artists, were on display at the Museum of Tomorrow in the regenerated port region before being moved to Deodoro Park.

“When you talk about Brazilian culture, it’s so mixed, it’s so interesting that it’s really good to have Brazil represented in Rio, not just Rio’s culture,” Mr Camurati adds.

The party in downtown Rio began on August 3 with a live screening of Brazil’s opening football match against South Africa as the Olympic Torch Relay arrives in the area with a surprise show. And while the focus will be in the port region, there will also be a range of sports tournaments for children in the Olympic Boulevard live sites in Parque Madureira and Campo Grande.

“They will be like big summer camps,” said Antonio Pedro, Rio’s Tourism Secretary.

Meanwhile, visitors will be able to pick up a Cultural Passport for just R$15 to enjoy free or discounted entry to 700 events put on by the City Hall.

The programme began in May and will continue through September with events taking place all over the city, including joint performances by some of the city’s famous samba schools and Carnival bands.

“One of the bonuses of the Olympics, as well as the sports themselves, is the possibility that we have to show our country and our city to the world,” Eduardo Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, says. “And Rio de Janeiro has two main assets, which are its natural beauty and the strength of its people through cultural expressions. This passport is a great opportunity to show this diversity of Brazilian culture not only for those who visit us, but also for many locals who often end up not visiting cultural attractions. We want people to experience the city at its maximum.”