Vendors begin setting up for Mardi Gras - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Vendors begin setting up for Mardi Gras

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By Tayleigh Davis - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Dozens of vendors are setting up Friday night for the Mardi Gras festivities which kick off hours from now.

This is the first year they came out  the night before and the event director hopes they'll be well prepared in time for the kickoff.

"The first thing they say is we need a good event because the economy is killing us," said Event Director Phil Cannon.

Cannon helped block off the 200 and 300 blocks of Broad Avenue where nearly 100 food and art vendors will set up and sell items.

Volunteers set up a fence outside Veterans Park to funnel foot traffic and to give a place for vendors to set up as well. Roughly 40 porta-potties sit on one block - all to accommodate the estimated 60,000 visitors Cannon expects will hit the streets this weekend.

While venders brave the cold,  race volunteers handed out numbers, shirts and packets to runners at the expo at the Hilton Garden Inn.

"We have been packed with runners and it's been great," said Recreation and Parks Department Director Kristen Caso. "We thought we would come close to last year but with the economy and all we were glad to get the numbers we got."

Race directors expect to see 1,500 people on the starting line. Kim Archbold is one of them. It's her  first marathon and she hoped to run it in four hours.

"I've never run a full marathon before and it's a lofty goal but I'll drop it down if I have to," Archbold

One thing runners don't have to worry about is a lack of activity after the race. To see a complete list of Mardi Gras activities in downtown Albany, click the "Rock, Roll, and Run icon on the top right side of WALB's home page.

Mardi Gras Volunteers spent about $46,000 on this year's event. The first Mardi Gras eight years ago cost about $2,500. Money raised will got towards next year's Mardi Gras event.

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