After the mayor paid a visit to the ambassador, this year’s Brazilian

Independence Day turned out to be more than a theme for the city’s monthly Friday Night LIVE! on Sept. 7.

The city is importing Brazilian acts Batuke Samba Funk and singer Rose Max, cordoning off that stretch of Federal Highway for a mobile stage and dance floor, and expects thousands of people ready to party from 6 to 11 p.m.

Turns out Gene de Sousa, whose Café Brasil program Sunday nights has been a mainstay on Miami’s National Public Radio station for 10 years, “had connections and partnerships with the consulate,” said the city’s downtown manager Ruby Childers. With business tie-ins to Brazil, and realizing the two dates were the same, “it clicked and became a win-win for both of us,” she said.

Brazilian Ambassador Helio Vitor Ramos F., the consul general in Miami, said he couldn’t be more delighted with the prospect. “It is the first time in years that we have decided to join a public celebration, designed to gather thousands of people,” he said via email and through an emissary.

He plans to be there to accept a key to the city from Mayor Susan Whelchel. “We went to the consulate and wanted to let them know how much we are looking forward to this, and talked about furthering business opportunities,” she said. “This is big.”

DeSouza will emcee the festivities with DJ Fred before the live music starts at 7:40 p.m., as the host of the Brazilian program at 88.9 FM and online.

Although there are Brazilian Independence Day dinners and celebrations all over South Florida, “there hasn’t been anything official ongoing each year, not one promoter or venue,” DeSousa said. “But Brazilians are very festive people. It’s rare for the consulate and this ambassador to endorse this event.”

Carlo Barbieri handles publicity for the West Boca Rotary Club and is president of the Brazil Club, a new association based in Boca Del Mar. He plans to bring children who are learning Portuguese with plenty of American and Brazilian flags, he said. The other event partners are Banco do Brasil, the Palm Beach County Convention & Visitors Bureau and Brazilian media.

“This is a great example of what we ought to be doing,” said Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO of the Convention and Visitors Bureau. He called the Brazilian market the fastest-growing in the region, and added that Miami-Dade alone had 645,000 Brazilian visitors last year.

“This is an ideal setting to get involved, and strengths our relationship to make everyone aware thatPalm Beach County and Boca Raton have an open-arms attitude to bringing in international visitors,” he said.

The consulate said it is also taking part in Citizenship Day in Pompano Beach on Sept. 8.

“The celebration of our Independence Day is the most important Brazilian national festivity,” the ambassador said in his message. “The event in Boca Raton presented itself as an appropriate and tasteful way to celebrate this date with the city of Boca Raton and our community, which amounts to 300,000 Brazilians residing in Florida.

“At the same time, we will take advantage of this opportunity to invite all our friends from other nationalities residing here in South Florida to share this moment with us.”


If You Go

What: Brazilian Independence Day, “Boca and Brazil Meet to Celebrate the Brazilian Beat,” a Friday Night LIVE! free community event.

Featuring a gourmet food truck expo of Brazilian grab-and-go food and drink, the music of Batuke Samba Funk and Rose Max, and street-side dance floor and band for samba; formal proclamation and key to the city presentation to Brazilian ambassador/consul general

Where: Sanborn Square, 72 N. Federal Highway, and on Federal Highway between Palmetto Park Road and Northeast Second Avenue and the promenade along First Avenue and Boca Raton Road

When/Schedule of Events: 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7

· 6 p.m., Zumba demonstration and deejay playing Brazilian music; procession of Capoeira dancers and Carnival drummers in Mizner Park and promenade area;

· 7 p.m. Proclamation, remarks and key to the city to Ambassador Helio Vitor Ramos F. by Boca RatonMayor Susan Whelchel and Councilwoman Constance Scott;

· 7:40 p.m. Batuke Samba Funk music and dancing;

· 9:10 p.m. Deejay, listening and dancing;

· 9:40 to 11 p.m. Performance by singer Rose Max and percussion;

· After-parties at participating bars and restaurants in Mizner Park, Royal Palm Place and nearby venues. Go to or call 561-367-7070.

Parking: Free parking at City Hall, 201 W. Palmetto Park Road, the Downtown Library, 200 NW Boca Raton Blvd., and other locales with event signs. Parking for $5 on the green next to the Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, on the north end of Mizner Park. Parking for $10 at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church, 100 NE Mizner Blvd., and First United Methodist Church, 625 NE Mizner Blvd.

Street closings: Starting noon Friday, Sept. 7 Federal Highway from Palmetto Park Road to Northeast Second Street on both sides. Drivers are advised to use Dixie Highway and Mizner Boulevard as detours.

August 29, 2012