Rio de Janeiro hurries to prepare big New Year’s Eve party to open Golden Decade

first_img Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s second-largest city, announced that it is preparing a party that will pull out all the stops to ring in 2011 as the start of what it considers its “Golden Decade,” in which it will host soccer’s World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, among other events. At a press conference at the famous Copacabana Palace hotel, the tourism secretary and president of Riotur (a public tourism-promotion agency), Antonio Figueira de Mello, announced a “spectacular event” for the ‘Reveillon’ (New Year’s Eve celebration) at the Copacabana beach (in the southern part of the city), popular with tourists. The principal novelty will be the launch that night, minutes before the countdown to midnight, of the logo for the Rio 2016 Olympics, on screens set up along the beach. The president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Belgian Jacques Rogge, and the president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, will be invited, and it is planned that Lula da Silva will activate the electronic system that will display the logo, in a symbolic formal act to conclude his administration, since he will leave office on 1 January. Figueira announced the firm that won the bidding to put on the traditional show, which will include a battery of twenty tons of fireworks launched from eleven rafts positioned off-shore, facing the coast. The event will cost 17.5 million reais (10.3 million dollars) “entirely contributed by the sponsors.” The winning firm, SMR – which put on a similar show in Valparaíso (Chile) ten years ago and won the pyrotechnic competition held in Vancouver (Canada) in 2010 – will develop the theme of a “Golden Decade” for the occasion, in reference to the events that Rio will host: the Olympics, the World Cup, the 2013 Confederations Cup soccer tournament, and the World Military Games. Figueiro emphasized that the aim is to further promote Rio, the largest and best-known port of entry for tourists to Brazil, abroad. There will be a special tribute to the “glamour of Copacabana,” the “Little Princess of the Sea,” which rang in 2010 with almost two million people and sixteen tons of fireworks. As a preview of the festivities, it was announced that at Christmas there will be a show on the main stage by the popular crooner Roberto Carlos, ‘The King.’ By Dialogo September 16, 2010last_img