Everywhere you go in the world you will find some form of a street fair, each unique with different items, vendors, local merchants, specialties etc…..If you are a New Yorker reading this, the first that comes to mind would be the street fairs that take over 3rd ave (and other various avenues) during the year (but you would only consider going in the spring or fall). The Ipanema Hippie Fair has a tropical flavor to it that makes it fun to explore:
The ‘Hippie Fair’ takes place every Sunday, from 7am to 7pm (since 1968) in large square/park: Praça General Ozório Ipanema. The outer edges of the square are lined (about 2 rows) with different vendors on each side. Within each of these rows you will find vendors selling all sorts of things from religious or traditional Brazilian hand-made items (see below- there were a bunch of these), to
clothes/bathing suits/flip flops (think a tropical version of Florence’s San Lorenzo Square -which is actually what the entire ‘fair’ reminded me of. If you have been to Florence and know what I am talking about then you too have a ‘Ciao Bella’ t-shirt!). As you can see below, instead of ‘Ciao Bella’ they went with Caipirinha (the drink of choice here). For those of you questioning my fashion sense— there is a nicer, higher quality selection of clothing and bikinis (not just these t-shirts). You will also find some very nice jewelry; not just beading, there were a lot of silver/other jewelry vendors. Also— if you are looking for any leather items you will find excellent quality, stunning leather goods, belts etc (usually for around R$20 as opposed to R$200 in the stores!)
The inside of the square is full of different artists exhibiting their work. Think ‘outdoor art museum’. Some of the pieces are absolutely magnificent.
From paintings, to sculptures there is something that everyone will appreciate. Many of the paintings depict scenes of Brazil, Carnival, the beaches and mountains while others are more basic or simple home decor. The miniature life like wall hangings below were probably the most creative items inside the ‘art section’ of the fair. Hard to tell from the picture (I was sneaking the pic), but they are extremely detailed and true to the real buildings they represent.
If you are looking to find your quintessential souvenir, hunting for something small (specifically for a gift/you/your home) or just want to spend the afternoon perusing a fair full of different things, this is an excellent place to go.
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