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‘People Needed This:’ The Spirit Of Brazil Descends On Nashua During BrazilFest

Last year, BrasilFest’s organizers had to stop all the drums and whistles, because the COVID-19 pandemic stopped them from planning a celebration. People missed the opportunity to connect with each other. But this year, the festival was back and the party came recharged.

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About a thousand people gathered to admire the two things many Brazilians feel most proud of: their soccer team and their Carnival. People enjoyed both of these passions at Greeley Park, during one of the biggest festivals in New Hampshire.

This Saturday people samba danced and exercised with two Brazilian fitness coaches that pushed the crowd to sweat those extra calories from the feijoada and brigadeiros, two popular dishes sold at the festival.

Samba is an Afro Brazilian dance from Rio de Janeiro. Roberta Korsenowski, one of the dancers, said she was surprised by the crowd. “Everybody is wearing green and yellow, the Brazilian flag,” she said. “I was so happy, people needed this at this moment especially.”

Korsenowski has been through hard times during the pandemic. She had to cancel all her shows. Finally, the festival gave her the opportunity to work again. Above all, dancing again gave her a feeling of normalcy.

“In our country, we love the feathers and the music, we are happy to see people back again,” said Korsenowski.

But COVID-19 wasn’t completely forgotten. The Nashua Health Department installed a mobile clinic at the festival to incentivize people to get vaccinated.

Bruno D’Britto, the event planner, said although attendees were cautious and worried about COVID-19, they were all ready to go out and enjoy an event.

Thirty local business stands also joined the festival. One of them was Neuza Cohelo O’Sullirah's, from Salvador du Brasil. She was wearing her traditional costume while she sold acarajé, a small fritter made from black-eyed peas. Attendees formed long lines to buy them.

While people waited for a children's soccer match to start while the samba dancers started performing again, it seemed like everybody went a little crazy just as they do at home, far away in Brazil.

Gabriela Lozada is a Report for America corps member. Her focus is on Latinx community with original reporting done in Spanish for ¿Qué hay de Nuevo NH?.

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