Rio might be low on snowmen, reindeer and fireplaces, but it can’t be beat on one Christmas tradition: the famous Lagoa Christmas tree, a 28-storey glittering behemoth of seasonal kitsch, which was officially opened on Saturday, December 1st.
The theme for 2012 tree, which floats atop the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon in Rio’s Zona Sul (South Zone), is All the Christmases of the World, and celebrates the four seasons of the year.
The much-anticipated inauguration kicked off the festive season with an event at Parque do Cantagalo (on the Ipanema/Copacabana side of the Lagoa) including fireworks and performance of The Wizard of Oz starring Malu Rodrigues, as Dorothy, and actor and presenter Luiz Carlos Miele as the Wizard of Oz.
Other cultural attractions included a suite from standby The Nutcracker, performed by The Dalal Achcar School of Ballet, and Christmas classics from Simone, Emilio Santiago, the Barra Mansa Symphony Orchestra and the Fundação Bradesco Choirs.
At 279 ft (85 m) and weighing some 542 tonnes – about the same as 66 full-grown African elephants – the structure is the largest floating model in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records. Sponsored by by Bradesco Seguros, it is illuminated by some 3.1 million microlamps, 120 kilometers of tube lights, and 100 LED spotlights, all mounted atop a base made entirely of lace-work.