Published On: Wed, Sep 12th, 2018

7th Annual Pompano Beach Brazilian Festival

The 2018 festival is projected to attract 20,000 attendees and will feature four headline acts including Elba Ramhalho, Chimarruts (with special guest James McWhinney from Big Mountain), Marcelo D2 and Don & Juan.

Boca Raton, FL — The Brazilian spirit of Carnival is once again coming to Pompano Beach Community Park Saturday Oct. 20 and Sunday Oct. 21 for the 7th annual Pompano Beach Brazilian festival, presented by Vista Motor Company — the largest Brazilian festival on the southeastern coast of the U.S.

This year’s festival is projected to attract approximately 20,000 celebrants to the 300,000-square- foot Pompano Beach park where attendees will enjoy 45 multi-cultural food vendors, a kids zone, extreme sports park, parading Samba and Capoeira performances and five world-renowned musical acts. This year’s concert lineup aims to represent every region of Brazil.

On Saturday, performances include Elba Ramalho (at 4pm), a Brazilian Forro singer who has won two Latin Grammy awards and been nominated for six; and Chimarruts (at 6pm), an eight-person, peace-promoting reggae band and winner of the Brazilian MTV Award’s Best Reggae Band. Performing with Chimarruts for two new singles off their latest album will be special guest James McWhinney, formerly of Big Mountain — the band best known for their 1994 cover of Peter Frampton’s “Baby, I Love Your Way,” which reached the U.S. Top 40.

On Sunday, performances include Don & Juan (at 3pm), a Brazilian country duo from southern Minas Gerais known for their hit TV show about the history of Brazilian country music; and Marcelo D2 (at 6pm), an eclectic hip-hop artist who weaves in samba, bossa nova and jazz influences into his revelatory raps. Marcelo D2 has won eight Brazilian MTV awards and was praised by New York Times reporter Larry Rohter in 2011 for having a persistent “curiosity to see what happens when different genres are combined in unexpected ways.

Festival co-founder and organizer Luciano Sameli said, “never before has the festival had such a noteworthy lineup of musicians representing all regions of Brazil.”

The main stage will also pay tribute to colorful Brazilian art. The stage design, called “Journey of the Mind,” will essentially be a giant, vibrant canvas painted by Brazilian artist Valter De Morais, whose work is deeply rooted in Picasso-esque cubism and 1950s pop art. His paintings fittingly evoke rhythm, dance and music.

In addition to the headlining acts, this year’s festival will feature the event’s first ever local talent show on Saturday Oct. 20 at 3pm; plus a festival kick-off gospel show; performances by the Brazilian Festival’s own Samba dancers; guest performances by Capoeira acrobats and Brazilian percussionists; and the festival’s first ever community awards ceremony, recognizing remarkable festival participants (such best exhibitor, tastiest vendor and most jammin’ local band).

Of the 45 food vendors in attendance, an abundance of multi-cultural cuisines will be served including sushi, Greek, Indian, Mexican, BBQ, açaí bowls, and multiple styles of Brazilian food including traditional churrasco, acaraje and pão de queijo.

“We have a variety that is unbelievable,” said Sameli. “The festival is becoming one of the largest multi-cultural food festivals of the year”

Since the festival first started in 2012, it has roughly quadrupled in size and extended from one day, to two.

“We started the first year with approximately 5,000 people. The second year about 7,500, and in 2016 more than 20,000,” said Sameli. “The festival is truly a way of showing what the Brazilian community is capable of doing together…it is meant to display that the Brazilian community is united.”

Unity is a theme Sameli and the festival’s co-founder, Pompano Beach Mayor Lamar Fisher, have been promoting through the festival since its inception. Together Mayor Fisher and Sameli wanted to create a community event that could bridge the gap between Brazilian residents and the Broward community at large.

Based on Brazilian television subscriptions and U.S. census data, it is estimated that approximately 360,000 Brazilians live in Florida — the largest Brazilian population in any state of the country. In addition, 993,000 Brazilians visited Florida in 2017, and over a million in 2016 (according to Visit Florida, the state’s official tourism marketing corporation). Brazil ranks third in the world for providing Florida with the most tourist visitors behind Canada and the United Kingdom.

Understanding Brazilians as an integral and essential part of the local population and culture, Mayor Fisher saw the festival as a way to celebrate and connect the community. In 2012 he recruited Sameli, who at the time was working for a Brazilian television station, to help plan the first festival.

With the support of the City of Pompano  Beach,  Parks,  Recreation  and  Cultural  Arts Department, the Pompano Beach Fire Department, Broward Sheriff’s Office, generous corporate donors like Vista Motors, and the nonprofit organization, the Heartbeat Foundation Corp., the event has been a growing success.

“This is the most important event of the year for our Brazilian community,” said Pompano Beach Mayor Lamar Fisher. “We are so proud to host the event. The event displays the true flavor and culture of our Brazilian community; the entertainment is overwhelming; the food is authentic and once you attend the event, you can’t wait for it to happen again.”

In the last seven years, the festival has generated approximately 2,800 temporary jobs and donated more than $20,000 to local institutions. In addition, it has contracted services from approximately 150 local businesses, and helped more than 400 local small businesses  with  brand  exposure.  While the cultural focus of the festival is Brazilian, Sameli says he believes the festival is helping to establish Broward County as a “multicultural capital of Florida.”

In addition to promoting unity and multiculturalism, from the beginning the festival has placed emphasis on promoting environmentally-conscious practices. It’s a cause that’s extremely important.

“I’m from Brazil and we have seen what has happened in Brazil in the Amazon forest the past few decades,” said Sameli. “It’s something that makes Brazilians extremely sad. Global warming is, today, one of the most important concerns of our generation. So the festival is also about environmental protection and awareness.”


WHAT: The 7th Annual Pompano Beach Brazilian Festival

WHEN: Saturday Oct. 20 from 11am to 10pm & Sunday Oct. 21 from 11am to 8pm

WHERE: Pompano Community Park , 820 NE 18 Ave., Pompano Beach, FL 33060 (at the corner of NE 10 St. and U.S. 1)

COST: $5 donation; kids under the age of 13 are free


  • The Pompano Beach Brazilian Festival is the largest Brazilian Festival on the southeastern coast of the U.S.
  • Ranked the “Best Brazilian Festival in the United States” in 2013
  • Projected to attract 20,000 attendees
  • Will feature four headlining acts including Elba Ramhalho, Chimarruts (with special guest James McWhinney of Big Mountain), Marcelo D2 and Don & Juan; plus a local talent show; performances by Capoeira acrobats, Samba dancers and percussionists; kick-off gospel show; and a community awards ceremony
  • Approximately 45 multi-cultural food vendors; a kids zone with carnival games, bounce house, DJ tower and the Stage, designed as a giant canvas by Brazilian artist Valter De Morais

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