Arlington native Joanna Smith, letft, and Caitlyn Nichol Thomas perform on the Broad Avenue stage during the downtown Mardi Gras Festival Saturday night.
ALBANY, Ga. -- From the stage at the east end of Broad Avenue through the tent-lined two blocks to Jefferson Street, the Mardi Gras Street Fair made for a colorful, rousing and delicious time from noon to midnight on Saturday.
"There's nothing like a little southern rock music in Albany on a Saturday afternoon at Mardi Gras," said Stephen Harrell, as he and the Dusty Boots Band ran through a set that included Johnny Cash, Lynyrd Skynyrd and other southern greats.
Harrell's deep-country voice, Joey Recker's sweeping keyboards and Tim McDonald's moving guitar found punch from Steve Husley's bass and Craig Shugart's pounding drums as the strains of "Sweet Home Alabama" moved the audience.
The music sent little face-painted girls dancing in the streets and adults clapping and singing along through the band's set.
Tending bar about a block away, Mary Pickett, poured a Crown Royal with cola and soda for a customer.
"It just seems that when the music plays," Pickett said, "people buy more drinks."
Drinking took a side to all the food that was available at the street fair. Everything from traditional ribs, hot dogs, burgers, fries, cheese steaks, sausage of Italian and Polish recipe origin, funnel cakes and more fries, chicken wings, chips and fried pickles all tempted the taste buds.
So much food aroused hunger in everyone. What to choose crossed everyone's mind. So many varieties. All so good. Choosing to have a gyro sandwich, Richard Duran said it was the smell and the presentation that made him decide.
"I just haven't had a gyro in a long time," Duran said. "The smell in the fair was just so good. And then I saw this gyro. Had to have it."
Many people decided that to get more fully into the Mardi Gras theme and spirit, they needed to wear beads, colorful dress and masks.
Colorful masks and beads had mother and daughter Jessica Love and Summer Jordan in the spirit for a fun afternoon. Love said she just -- yes she said it -- loves street fairs.
"We just moved back from Chicago. We have been to all kinds of fairs, Italian, Polish, all kinds," Love said. "I think this one is really great. The music, food and something great on a Saturday."