A Mardi Gras attendees celebrate in 2011.
ALBANY — Inclement weather may have postponed last weekend’s Mardi Gras Street Festival, but it has resulted in one of the biggest music Saturdays downtown has seen in quite a while.
Three separate musical events are on tap for the weekend: the Mardi Gras celebration with nine groups scheduled on two different stages, the R&B Soulfest, headlined by Keith Sweat and the Manhattans, at the Albany Civic Center and Corey Smith performing at the State Theatre.
“Last week’s rain has made this weekend an even bigger event,” Bo Henry of the Bo Henry Band said. “We’ve been kinda heading this way for a while, but it just fell into place for all this music.”
The Flint RiverQuarium’s Turtle Race was also rescheduled and will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday.
With the shift of the main Mardi Gras festivities this year, the RiverQuarium will be right in the center of the action and will be offering special Mardi Gras Madness admission of $5 all day for all ages. The day’s activities at the aquarium will include extra children’s activities.
Visitors also can enjoy a one-day screening of “Turtle: The Incredible Journey” at the Imagination Theater. The movie is free to RiverQuarium members and $3 for non-members. Show times are 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
This year’s turtle race prizes include $5,000 in cash; free gas for one year from Homerun Foods; $1,000 in groceries from Winn Dixie; a Hobie Lanai kayak from Huggins Outboard; mosquito treatment for one year from Adams Exterminators; a Taste of Albany package, which includes a night’s stay at the Merry Acres Inn and $150 in gift cards from area restaurants; a SCUBA certification class from Adventure Dive Center; and a doggie spa weekend from Yellow Dog Kennels.
Turtles may be adopted at the RiverQuarium until 3 p.m. the day of the race. The cost of a single turtle is $5. Multiturtle packages also are available.
The Mardi Gras Festival’s music will feature nine bands and begin at noon with groups on two stages: at the 100 block of Broad Avenue and the LeVee Stage in the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce parking lot.
The R&B Soulfest will begin at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center. The lineup includes Sweat, the Manhattans, T.K. Soul and Wilson Meadows.
At the State Theater, doors will open at 7 p.m. for Smith’s show.
Due to the setup of the Mardi Gras Festival, the 100-200 blocks of Broad Avenue and 100 block of Washington Street will close at 2 p.m. today. Officials are requesting patrons use the Jackson Street parking deck and surrounding areas for parking. All downtown businesses will remain open during the festivities Saturday.
MARDI GRAS FESTIVAL BAND SCHEDULE
Noon-1 p.m., Rollin In The Hay
1:15 p.m.-2:15 p.m., Dusty Boots Band
2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m., Evergreen Family Band
3:45 p.m.-4:45 p.m., Southern Arts Music Ensemble
5 p.m.-6 p.m., Highway 55
6:30 p.m.-8 p.m., Joanna Smith
8:15 p.m.-9:15 p.m., Jodi Mann
9:30 p.m.-11 p.m., Bo Henry Band
11:15 p.m.-12:30 a.m., Broken Glass