By Tayleigh Davis - bio | email ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany's biggest tourism weekend of the year is a just a month away and organizers are working to sign up volunteers to make it a success.
The first weekend in March, Downtown Albany will host the annual marathon, pro bike races, and a Mardi Gras Festival.
The marathon depends on hundreds of volunteers every year to make the weekend a success. Director Lisa Riddle says she needs hundreds of race marshals for the events.
"We needs hundreds of volunteers because it runs through downtown Albany up to Doublegate and all over the place," Riddle said. "It's a big event which requires a lot of planning."
The fourth annual event brings tens of thousands of people downtown and pumps roughly $2.5 million into the community.
Dale Saunders owns Riverfront BBQ downtown. He sees his sales go up nearly 30 percent during Mardi Gras weekend.
"Anytime we have a big event in Albany our business goes up because we have so many people walking by our restaurant," Saunders said.
The Hilton is booked this year and it was this time last year too. With 122 rooms at $99 each, that's a big money maker for the hotel.
"Every year it goes up and up which has a larger impact on the city," said General Manager Eric Hodges. "The Convention & Visitors Bureau does a great job marketing which brings people in Albany."
The Mardi Gras weekend won't be a success without volunteers to make sure everything comes off as planned.
" That's one of the biggest compliments is community support and we need volunteers and we need to push that," Riddle added.
If you'd like to volunteer for any of the Mardi Gras weekend events, you can pick up volunteer forms at the Convention and Visitors Bureau in Downtown Albany or click here for more information.
Organizers hope 2,000 people will run the marathon this year. Last year, the number was 1,400 so they'll need more volunteers this year.
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