It’s been nearly three years since Loulé hosted its ‘Carnaval’ festivities, considered to be one of the best and oldest in all of Portugal.
The festivities were held digitally in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, while in 2022 an “alternative edition” of the famous Carnival parade was organised, with floats being displayed on the streets instead of being paraded around town.
Thus a glorious return to the original format, with three major parades to take place between February 19 and 21.
The theme will be the Algarvensis Geopark, which brings together Loulé, Silves and Albufeira and is aspiring to join the official network of UNESCO Geoparks.
Fourteen floats, nine entertainment groups, three samba schools and more than 600 people will be taking part to put on a huge show for all visitors.
The ‘king’ of the parade will be the Metoposaurus algarvensis, an extinct amphibian similar to a giant salamander which lived in the Algarve around 227 million years ago and which inspired the bid to become a UNESCO Geopark.
One of the main goals is to bring new life to the boroughs, using their important geological heritage to fight desertification in inland areas.
“We will be playing around with a subject that is indeed very important for us and is one of the main projects for the future of our community and territory, and believe that Carnival can help us with our intentions,” said the local council.
However, it would not be Carnival without a good dose of political, social and sports satire.
The cost-of-living crisis affecting the Portuguese, the government resignations, and Portugal’s commitment to carbon neutrality (represented by President Marcelo and famous climate activist Greta Thunberg who will be collecting plastic from the sea) will be just a few of the subjects highlighted during the parades.
Even major international events will be tackled, from the war in Ukraine which will see Zelensky and Putin leading one of the floats together and Brazil’s controversial elections to the new British leaders, King Charles III and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Ten local charitable associations will also be taking part in the parades. They are: EXISTIR, JS Campinense, Algarve Gym, GD Barreiras Brancas, As Tradições de Loulé, Motoclube de Loulé, Associação Satori, TUALLE – Tuna Universitária Afonsina de Loulé, AGAL – Associação Grupo dos Amigos de Loulé and Associação Fénix.
The parades will take place between 3pm and 5.30pm at Avenida José da Costa Mealha. Tickets cost €2 per person with proceeds going to charity.
Also planned is a ‘Carnaval Infantil’ on the morning of February 17, which will feature schoolchildren leading a ‘mini’ version of the parade.
And for those who love dancing, Loulé’s party venue Salão de Festas will host a Carnaval Gala on February 20 at 10pm.