The Venice Brazilian Carnaval Bloco returns for a second party on the beach

By Will Theisen

Last year’s inaugural Venice Carnaval brought music and costumes  to the boardwalk

Last year’s inaugural Venice Carnaval brought music and costumes
to the boardwalk

The bright colors, eccentric personalities and beachside vibes of Venice make it the perfect place to hold an American edition of the famed Brazilian Carnaval, says Sergio Mielniczenko, a Brazilian-born radio host with shows on KPFK and KXLU.

“Venice is the perfect place for cultural expression,” says Mielniczenko, a Brazilian-born radio host with shows on KPFK and KXLU. “I live in Venice, and the people of Venice have always been creating new movements and expressive art.”

The second annual Venice Brazilian Carnaval Bloco event happens at noon on Saturday, Feb. 13. Anyone interested in dancing along should meet at the corner of Rose Avenue and Ocean Front Walk. The parade will travel south along the boardwalk, ending at Windward Avenue.

The original blocos carnavalescos began as neighborhood get-togethers with dancing and music. In cities like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, these events attract hundreds of thousands of spectators and participants, including a Guinness World Record-setting 2.5 million people in 2013. There are many smaller events throughout Brazil that coincide with the main event, and the upcoming Venice Carnaval is aimed at channeling that smaller atmosphere.

“Our bloco has music, dancing and costumes representing different parts of Brazil. I think it is a good opportunity for us to share a very important part of our culture,” says Mielniczenko.

He compares the event to the Venice Mardi Gras Parade, which went off for the 15th time last Saturday.

“The Mardi Gras Parade in Venice is wonderful,” says Mielniczenko. “[Mardi Gras Parade founder] Jessica Long and friends do a great job! It is a true expression of culture, music and an important tradition! We regard the Carnaval and Mardi Gras to have similar traditions in Brazil and New Orleans.”

Mielniczenko says the idea for the parade came after years of hearing the local Brazilian community express an interest in it. As the host of two weekly Brazilian-themed radio shows, he says he’s been involved with most of the Brazilian events in Los Angeles.

“Being in Venice and seeing parades, music, arts, I had been thinking of starting a bloco carnavalesco parade and keeping it neighborhood-oriented. Last year I proposed the parade and [the local Brazilian community] all jumped in with great enthusiasm. I said ‘It’s Carnaval time. Let’s do it.’ Now it’s happening!”

The second annual Venice Brazilian Carnaval Bloco begins at noon on Saturday at the corner of Ocean Front Walk and Rose Avenue.