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Carnival Celebrations Gearing Up for Mardi Gras Finale

A dancer performs during the parade of the Vai Vai samba school in Sao Paulo, Brazil, March 5, 2011

From the Brazil to the United States, Carnival celebrations are picking up, with the grand finale, Mardi Gras, just days away.

In Rio de Janeiro, the party kicked off Friday after the mayor handed the key to the city to the mythical figure, King Momo, who reigns over Carnival's five day marathon of dancing in the streets, parades and alcohol.

In the United States, the first of hundreds of thousands of expected revelers are in New Orleans, Louisiana for one of the largest Mardi Gras celebrations in the country.

From the famed Bourbon Street, masked revelers are dancing their way across the city, usually with the help of plenty of libations.

The around the clock party features several parades of floats that wraps up on March 8, Fat Tuesday , ahead of Wednesday's start of Lent.