Albany's big weekend is here -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Albany's big weekend is here

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  The weekend is here, and it's a big one in Albany. Thousands of visitors are pouring into town.

More than 1,500 volunteers are needed to pull it all off. The events include the Mardi Gras street festival, the Regions bike races, and the Snickers Marathon Energy Bar Marathon and half marathon. Activities are getting underway this evening. Boxes were on the move.

More than a thousand volunteers won't get a break until late Saturday night. Albany's welcoming runners both locally and those who couldn't run in Myrtle Beach's marathon several weeks ago when it was canceled because of snow.

"We reached out to all the runners and offered them a chance to come run our race and we got a lot of registrations from that," said Rashelle Beasley, Snickers Marathon Energy Bar Marathon Organizer.

About 1,500 runners will take to Albany's streets, among them a team from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

"The whole marathon is about Sara Underdown and her memory and it's awesome that we can get a team and training group from the Leukemia and Lymphoma society to come and run," said Beasley.

Traffic crews set out hundred of barrels and cones along the route that will be moved into place early Saturday.

"We've been setting out barricades and barrels and getting ready to have everything ready to set up in the morning about 5:00 AM," said Kathy McDowell, Interim Street Sign and Marking Supervisor.

Mardi Gras organizers set the stage, marking off places for vendors who will start setting up soon.

"The 200 block of Broad Avenue will be closed beginning at 9:00 PM Friday night until probably 6:00 AM Sunday morning," said Phil Cannon, Mardi Gras organizer.

One hundred and fifteen vendors have committed to this years event more than a dozen more than last year.

"The vendors are a very close knit community and they talk to each other and they know where all of the good ones are, the good festivals are, with a lot of people," said Cannon.

Organizers say it's a lot of hard work that goes into pulling off the event, but when the community comes together it's a success.

The 200 block of West Broad closes at nine o'clock Friday night. They'll also close Pine Avenue and the 100 block of Front Street this evening because they don't want cars parked in and not able to get out and they stress using caution if you have to drive around Albany Saturday morning.

The Albany Marathon and Half Marathon starts at 7:00 AM. Streets will be blocked off starting at 6:00 AM. Mardi Gras starts at noon with the Pet Parade, and the Music starts at 1:00 PM and runs through midnight.

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