The festivities started at 8:30 p.m. when people lined up outside the center despite the dismal weather, eager to begin celebrating the annual Brazilian Carnaval. Some revelers said they felt this was the biggest year for the event.
Since 1641, Carnaval has been an annual celebration in Brazil held during the four-day span prior to the start of Lent, the 40-day period that precedes Easter.
Carnaval has been celebrated in the Triangle area since the late 1970s, but was taken over by the Brazilian Association of the Triangle in 1999.
Although Carnaval was celebrated last weekend in Brazil, officials decided to wait until this weekend to celebrate Carrboro's Carnaval.
"It's easier to book a band," said Murilo Rizzo, a volunteer from the local association. Most Brazilian bands were booked last week for during the time of the actual Carnaval, he added.
The event has evolved from a religious celebration into more of an appreciation of Brazilian culture, regardless of one's religious background. "It's like Mardi Gras," Rizzo said.
But the festivities were not just attended by Brazilians. "That's what Brazil is all about," said Max Mascarenhas, 29, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. "It's a rich mix of different cultures and we try, here in Carrboro, to reflect that."
Oscar Uoola, a Spanish teacher from Chile, said the diverse atmosphere made the event more fun. "One of the things I love about the culture is we're not just one culture, but a mixture of ethnicity and culture," he said.
Various types of dancing were featured, ranging from the improvised and upbeat samba to the choreographed ax