June 6, 2012
A folk celebration of St. Anthony, St. John and St. Peter, Festas Juninas take place in different styles all over Brazil, but Bahia tops the festivities with events in all of the state's 417 towns.
In 2012, São João do Pelô, as the event is known, will again feature some of the best forrozeiros, or forró artists, in Brazil as part of the São João da Bahia Project organized by the state's government through the Tourism Secretariat and Bahiatursa, the official state tourism company.
The traditional square dancing (quadrilha) contest will have 30 groups in the grown-up and junior categories, with 5,000 participants from 28 cities, according to Carlos Brito, president of Febaq, the Bahia Quadrille Federation.
This year, the festival is lasting longer than last year, with plenty of attractions on Pelourinho's three main squares from June 8 to June 30, thanks to a partnership with the Culture Secretariat, through CCPI, a center for regional popular culture.
There are religious celebrations as well: a triduum for St. Anthony from June 11 to 13 and a celebration of St. Peter on June 29 and 30.
St. John's Festival is one of the most successful new tourism initiatives in Bahia, widely known for its Salvador Carnival. "June used to be a terrible month for tourism on the Bahia coast," said Bahia Tourism Secretary Domingos Leonelli in an interview to the official São João da Bahia website. "In the last four years, the number of tour packages for the state sold by a single operator went from 12,000 to 39,000. São João da Bahia contributed greatly to that result."