Rio Carnival: Bigger, Brighter ... More Organized?

Published February 17, 2012 1:36PM (EST)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The globe's biggest Carnival bash is beginning in Rio de Janeiro and it promises to be an even bigger blowout this year, with 20 percent more tourists expected than in 2011.

But Rio officials say Friday they're also better prepared to keep the chaos under control. They're bringing in more portable toilets, more traffic guards and more paramedics to try to maintain some order.

About 850,000 tourists are expected during the raucous, five-day free-for-all that kicks off when Rio's mayor hands the key to the city to rotund King Momo. He's the mythical jester figure who reigns over Carnival.

Merrymakers are expected to spend $640 million and generate 250,000 jobs, according to the city's economic development department.

By Salon Staff

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