Street troupes kept the merriment going on the last day of Carnival in Brazil after the elite samba schools wound up their spectacular parades.

The "blocos," as the street troupes are known that attract enormous crowds into the streets to dance, sing and have fun, were the main attraction on the eve of Ash Wednesday, when theoretically Brazilians must shed their costumes and get back to normal.

Still to come, however, is the parade of this year's champion samba schools, set for Saturday.

Early Tuesday the Rio Maracatu bloco paraded along the promenade of Rio de Janeiro's Ipanema Beach to the delight of locals and tourists in their thousands, even luring sunbathers to join in who had been resting on the sand.

Others awakened early were residents of the pastoral neighborhood of Santa Teresa by the Carmelitas bloco, notable for the many in its number costumed as nuns to recall the story of the legendary novice who escaped years ago from a Carmelite convent to have her fling during Carnival.

On this last day of its iconic celebration, Rio still has in store the presentation of around 110 blocos to nearly 450,000 people.

The 12 elite samba schools who performed at the city's Sambadrome now await the decision of the jury, set for Wednesday, to determine this year's champion.

The parades of the samba schools, each one with some 5,000 dancers, alegorical floats and huge orchestras, are considered the Carnival of Rio's main attraction. EFE