Rio de Janeiro is hosting the Champions' Parade tonight, featuring the six top-ranking samba schools in this Carnival's Special Group. They are:
- Unidos de Vila Isabel
- Unidos da Tijuca
- Imperatriz Leopoldinense
- Grande Rio
The Champions' Parade takes place at the Sambódromo on Avenida Marquês de Sapucaí, with the sequence of samba schools in reverse order to their placement - Unidos de Vila Isabel will close the night.
The samba school from the Vila Isabel neighborhood in Rio's Zona Norte (North Side) celebrated life in the country this year.
The themes were masterfully thought out by carnavalesca (Carnival director) Rosa Magalhães and the Vila Isabel team, with outstanding costumes such as the cornfield/scarecrow sported by first flag bearer and MC, queen of bateria Sabrina Sato's black-winged outfit and the baianas' festa junina-themed gear.
Tourists who haven't yet found their way to Rio's North Side have one more reminder of the area's powerful samba roots. This year marks the fourth of five consecutive Carnivals in which the winner is from the area (Salgueiro 2009, Unidos da Tijuca 2010 and 2012). Four of the samba schools in the Champions' Parade are from the area.
In his song Palpite Infeliz, one in a series of sambas written in a dispute with Wilson Batista, Noel Rosa, known as the Poeta da Vila for his home neighborhood of Vila Isabel said that "the Vila doesn't want to outdo anyone - it just wants to show it can make samba too." From a North Side native, here's congratulations to the grand winners and to all Zona Norte samba schools.