With the help of rhythmic samba, Brazilian treats and colorful decorations, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School transformed into a bustling Festa Junina, a Brazilian midsummer festival, Thursday evening.

From left to right, Jhennier Silva, Emanuelly Assis and Marcia Leoncio stand by the food table at Thursday's Brazilian Cultural Night. — Ray Ewing

The traditional Brazilian celebration takes place in June, but students replicated some of its traditional festivities for the school’s second annual Brazilian Cultural Night. The event attracted a few hundred people and featured games and displays on Brazilian animals, regions inventions, singers and more.

High School freshman Emanuelly Assis started preparing the school’s cafeteria for the festival early Thursday morning. She was proud to see that this year’s event was even livelier than the inaugural event in 2022.

“Last year we didn’t have the games,” she said. “But this year we even have face painting.”

High School teacher Carlos Trindade directs games at the festival. — Ray Ewing

The biggest hit of the night were the salgadinhos, which she described as traditional Brazilian finger food. A line of people waiting for a bite stretched long through the room until plates were full and the snacks ran out.

“We have coxinhas, which are like little chicken things, and cheese balls and truffle balls we call brigadeiros,” Emanuelly said. “We also have kibe… they’re like ground beef snacks.”

All of the food was donated to the school by Island restaurants.

On their way into the school, visitors could pick up a mock Brazilian passport, which made them eligible to play festival games. Players received a sticker resembling a passport stamp for each game they competed in, explained junior Ana Amara.

“Whoever gets the most stickers will get a prize,” she said.

Players could win their stickers by playing games like tug of war and musical chairs, or joining the potato sack race and egg race on the school’s front lawn.

Egg races were one of several games at the event. — Ray Ewing

Jonah Kaplan-Woolner, an English as a second language teacher, teamed up with a group of teachers to help get the festival going for its second year. But he credited the students as the real leaders of the night.

“The kids really brought their memories from Brazil and the things they wanted to recreate with the food and the games and the music,” he said, as kids with brightly painted faces ran by, holding sticks of cotton candy. “They made all of the crafts and decorations. They just worked really hard to pull this off.”

More pictures.