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Video: Rio Carnival's biggest street party, Cordão do Bola Preta
Despite a nearly unbearable early morning start time, the Cordão do Bola Preta bloco on Saturday attracted more than 2.2 million people -- the most any of Rio de Janeiro's popular Carnival street parties has ever seen.
The party got started at 8:30 a.m. in Largo da Candelária and traveled down Avenida Rio Branco before finishing in a huge dance party in Cinelândia plaza. Most revelers were decked in outlandish costumes or outfits with the bloco's signature black polka dots, and more than a few were enjoying the beers, cocktails, and shots being sold and served by street vendors. From my perch in the press box, the flow of happy Brazilians from all walks of life, singing and dancing and bonding in the festivities, was awe-inspiring.
Despite the record crowds, the bloco passed nearly without incident, with police officers reporting only a handful of public urination arrests. What do you expect with all those caipirinhas?
Check out Gadling's full range of Rio Carnival 2012 coverage here.