In Pictures: Rio Carnival 2011 - Sea of colour as Brazil party reaches climax
The Rio Carnival in Brazil kicked off just weeks after a devastating fire almost forced its cancellation.
A fire in early February ripped through warehouses in Rio De Janeiro where three elite samba groups were preparing for the carnival, incinerating more than 8,000 of the feather and glitter costumes as well as many of the massive, meticulously decorated floats.
Police concluded their investigation and found the fire was accidental.
The blaze did not stop the show, and the lavish parades in Rio's Sambadrome stadium went ahead as planned, watched by millions in Brazil and abroad.
The five days of festivities, which began Friday, are expected to attract 760,000 visitors, spending £350m, in capital alone.