The Torres Vedras Carnival is finalizing preparations to welcome more than half a million masked visitors between Friday and Wednesday, as it celebrates its centenary with the biggest budget ever due to inflation.
Two days before they take to the streets, the construction of the floats, known for their usual political and social satire in line with current national and international events, is being finalized.
Alluding to this year’s theme, ‘Carnival of the Future’, the creatives put ‘robots’ and extraterrestrial beings among the protagonists, as well as the traditional figure of Zé Povinho being controlled by artificial intelligence.
World Youth Days are also mentioned, with the Pope among the protagonists.
The monument erected in the city center a month ago features caricatures of the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, party leaders Pedro Nuno Santos (PS) and André Ventura (Chega) and the Russian and Korean presidents.
“If we were to look at all the issues that Portugal has been through, there wouldn’t be enough space on the floats at the Torres Vedras Carnival to satirize them,” one of the creatives, Hélder Silva, jokingly told Lusa.
The budget went from 930,000 euros in 2023 to 1.1 million euros this year.
“As a result of inflation and rising prices, the budget has had to grow, but a good part of this budget is allocated to safety and rescue,” Rui Penetra, administrator of the municipal company Promotorres, which organizes the event, told Lusa.
In order for the more than half a million visitors expected to “play big and play Torriense” in safe conditions, changes will be made compared to the last editions: in addition to reinforced policing, the perimeter of the festivities will be widened to avoid an excessive concentration of people and video surveillance cameras will be increased.
“Praça Machado Santos, known as Praça da Batata, was already too crowded and the revellers were already having a very tight time, so it was decided not to put the entertainment stage in that square, which is still accessible, and we extended the night-time venue to Praça Alberto Avelino, which this year will have four nights of entertainment,” he explains.
In order to guarantee aid, the opening hours of the aid posts will be extended and an advanced medical post will be set up again in the city’s Regional Exhibition Park, with doctors, nurses, health assistants, 40 hospital beds, advanced life support and means for minor surgery to respond to most of the usual occurrences.
In all, 1,500 security and rescue professionals are mobilized to work during the event.
Carnival kicks off on Friday with the school procession, with 9,000 masked people in the morning, and the arrival and enthronement of the kings in the evening.
Between Saturday and Tuesday, the traditional daytime and nighttime corsos take place, in which six floats and thousands of spontaneous masked revellers parade, many of them disguised as matrafonas (men masquerading as women), as is typical in the municipality of Torres Vedras, in the district of Lisbon.
The event returns to various open-air nightlife stages, with DJs and artists Romana (Saturday) and Augusto Canário (Monday), until 04:00, with entertainment continuing until the morning in the city’s bars and clubs.
Revenues of 12 million euros are estimated for the local economy.
In 2023, the Torres Vedras Carnival was inscribed on the National Intangible Cultural Heritage list, as it is considered ‘the most Portuguese in Portugal’ and remains faithful to the traditions of the Portuguese Entrudo.