Some Winnipeggers are counting down the minutes until the 2014 FIFA World Cup begins in Brazil on Thursday.

“It’s going to be a fun party,” said Carolina Faciolo Bear, who is organizing a party in the Exchange District in honour of the event.

Local restaurants Hermanos, Corrientes and Carnaval BBQ are hosting the event and offering free food to people wearing jerseys at 3 p.m. when the first game begins — Brazil vs. Croatia.

Faciolo said because Brazil is this year’s host country, she wanted the local community to support the event.

“We want to be all together and have a big party. It’s our national passion,” she said.

Soccer players are also keeping an eye on the games.

Steve Sawatsky plays for the FC Winnipeg Lions. The team has organized a world cup pool.

“It’s only every four years so everyone looks forward to it a lot,” he said.

Teammate Dominic Antonini said the event provides exposure for the sport he loves.

“It definitely sheds light on soccer in Canada,” he said.