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Mardi Gras draws in the crowds

Arlington native Joanna Smith, letft, and Caitlyn Nichol Thomas perform on the Broad Avenue stage during the downtown Mardi Gras Festival Saturday night.

Arlington native Joanna Smith, letft, and Caitlyn Nichol Thomas perform on the Broad Avenue stage during the downtown Mardi Gras Festival Saturday night.

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Joe Bellacomo

Arlington native Joanna Smith performs 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.

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Volunteers Jamesha Santos, left, and Tammy Hagines gather turtles during the Flint RiverQuarium’s annual turtle race Saturday as part of the downtown Mardi Gras activities.

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.

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Joe Bellacomo

Plastic turtles stream down the water fountain at the Flint RiverQuarium's annual turtle race Saturday as part of the down town Albany Mardi Gras Festival.

"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."

Comments

tocar 2 years, 1 month ago

Mardi Gras may have drawn the crowds, but some of them forgot to go home or to their place of lodging and call it a night. All night long they have been racing motors and played loud music. The locals must be out. They sleep all day and stay out all night in this town. We do have curfews, but it is difficult to enforce when 85 percent are all out at the same time. You would not ever know that gas prices are high.

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FlunkyMonkey 2 years, 1 month ago

Congratulations Phil Cannon and the rest of the Mardi Gras organizers. Admission--$5.00. Food, snacks, drinks. $30.00. A years worth of memories in one night? PRICELESS.

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TAY 2 years, 1 month ago

THE MARDI GRAS WAS FANTASTIC; HOWEVER, WITH ALL THE FOOD IN THE AREA, IT WAS OF VERY POOR TASTE TO ALLOW DOGS (WITH THE EXCEPTION OF SERVICE DOGS) INTO THE EVENT.

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TAY 2 years, 1 month ago

THE MARDI GRAS WAS FANTASTIC; HOWEVER, IT WAS IN VERY POOR TASTE TO ALLOW SO MANY DOGS INTO THE EVENT (EXCEPTION OF SERVICE DOGS). BECAUSE OF ALL THE FOOD PROVIDED/OFFERED, THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN A CONCERN.

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SandySpringsCPA 2 years, 1 month ago

tocar,

Its that attitude right there that costs Albany dearly. The positives from this event far outweigh the negatives. That "small minded thinking" is how the city earns the moniker 'Small-bany". Let Valdosta and Columbus and even Tifton move past you and your little world.

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bubbasmithredneck 2 years, 1 month ago

Phll Cannon was going around telling the people in Club Chill to turn the music down.....on Mardi Gras...that is terrible. Leave them alone Phil.....they all did a great job.

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