Rain or shine, Mardi Gras will go on! - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Rain or shine, Mardi Gras will go on!

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February 24, 2006

Albany - There's no excuse for being bored this weekend because a lot is going on in Albany. The fourth annual Mardi Gras celebration is Saturday. And more than 200 cyclists will hit the streets for a big bike race.

Downtown business owner Steve Brimberry is getting ready for Saturday's street festival and Beachump Bike Race.

"I'm just getting the store stocked and decorated for the crowd we expect," said Brimberry. "Last year, there were about 10,000 people."

Along Broad Avenue, crews set up tents for vendors and brought in bleachers.

" We're trying to get as much done as we can before tomorrow morning," said Organizer Tommy Gregors.

Under sunny skies, Gregors must prepare for a rainy day ahead.

"We're watching the weather," said Gregors. "We putting up tents, we have the parking decks and we're putting up a covered stage for the bands. But rain or shine, we'll be here. We just encourage folks to bring their umbrellas, raincoats and come on out."

Mardi Gras events start at noon, but the streets will be crowded along before that.

"Racers will be starting every thirty seconds," said Lisa Riddle, Convention and Visitor's Center.

More than 240 cyclists from across the country will compete in the Beachump Bike Race starting at 8:00AM in front of the courthouse.

Riddle said, "It's amazing because you can feel the riders as they come by you. They're coming at 30 to 40 miles per hour. They're fast and big pack of riders."

And like Mardi Gras, the bike race will go on even if the rain's pouring down.

Bands start around noon. The Freedom Singers, Laney Strickland the Bo Henry Band, and Zydefunk will perform. There will be a pet parade at 1:00PM, and kid bike race at 3:30PM, and a lot of food.

Parts of Pine Avenue, Jackson, Roosevelt, Washington, and Front Streets in the downtown area will be blocked off starting early in the morning. But there will still be plenty of places to park.

It cost $5 to get into the Mardi Gras celebration. But it's free for children under 14, accompanied by an adult.

There will also be another bike race in Lee County on Sunday starting at 8:00AM on Highway 32 and Mossy Dell Road.

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