Albany gears up for Mardi Gras 2008 - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany gears up for Mardi Gras 2008

Posted: Updated:

February 29, 2008

Albany--   In just one day, downtown Albany will come to life with one of the city's signature events, Mardi Gras 2008. The event will kick off along the 200 and 300 blocks of West Broad Avenue.

"This is just another great year," says organizer Tommy Gregors.

The sixth year for the event, to be exact. Organizer Tommy Gregors and volunteers have been preparing for Saturday's event for about a year now.

"Over the last six months, it's been really active, and over the last month we've been busy almost daily," he says.

Last year, 20,000 people flocked to downtown Albany for Mardi Gras. Gregors is expecting a bigger turnout this time around.

"The number of participants in the bike race and marathon are up this year. And just the calls we've been getting, I think we'll see a lot more people," he says.

And they'll have plenty to look forward to. "We've got more kids activities, food vendors, arts and crafts vendors. We've got a race car driver we've added this year, a car show, and a poker run, and a barbeque cook off," he says.

Numerous bands will take the stage throughout the event and play through midnight.

"Great mix of music. Country, Southern rock, blues. There's something for everybody," he says.

Last year, the festival raised about $20,000. Money that goes right back into helping downtown Albany grow.

"The proceeds are split between Thronateeska and the education programs and then the downtown Merchants Association to promote downtown to add things and do some projects in the downtown area," he says.

As the clock winds down for this street party to begin, organizers promise a good time for the entire family.

"It's going to be a great weekend," promises Gregors.

If you plan to take part in tomorrow's event, it'll cost you just five dollars to get in. Anyone under 14 years of age, will get in free.

There will be alcohol served at the event, so if you plan to drink, make sure bring a valid ID, preferably a driver's licence.

The Mardi Gras festivities will kick off at noon with a pet parade sponsored by the Albany Humane Society, followed by a performance by the Wildcats Marching Band at 1 PM.

The fun ends at midnight.

Feedback: news@walb.com?Subject=MardiGrasPreview