Organizers: 38,000-plus participated in Mardi Gras festivities

The money generated during the event will go to pay for next year's event, organizers say.

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.

— Albany's signature downtown festival welcomed more than 38,000 guests Saturday, organizers say, making it one of the best attended Mardi Gras festivals to date.

Phil Cannon, one of the three original founders of the event, said Monday that early estimates put the crowd between 38,000 and 39,000, which would make it the second-largest Mardi Gras in terms of attendance on record.

"We're really pleased with the turnout and hope everyone had a good time," Cannon said. "Nearly every one of the vendors said that they made money and would be back again, which is good for them, and we didn't have hardly any incidents, so I'm considering it a success."

Organizers were uncertain how the street festival and downtown block part would turn out after they were forced to move it from March 3 after heavy winds and rain moved through the area.

"I kept telling our people after we made the decision, we're only 50 percent through with this thing; that we had to wait and see how the weather was going to be Saturday, but thankfully everything worked out and it was a beautiful day," Cannon said.

The funds generated by the $5 admission fee will help pay for next year's event, Cannon said. The event grows in size and cost each year. The price tag on the 2012 Mardi Gras Festival was more than $50,000, he said.

For tourism officials, having 38,000 people, many of whom don't live in Dougherty County, in downtown Saturday was a boon to the local economy.

"It's a good thing because many of the vendors were staying in local hotels and the people who came here probably had to fuel up somewhere and likely spent money here, so yea it's good thing for Albany and the economy," Albany Convention and Visitor's Bureau Manager Rashelle Beasley said.


paniconthenet 3 years, 8 months ago

It was a great time. My wife and I actually volunteered to work a gate, it was amazing no one seemed upset or pushy. We both really enjoyed it, and its nice to get to go downtown and honestly not worry about the all the "crime" people say are at things like that in this town. It's nice all those negative people stayed at home by them selfs and let the rest enjoy our selfs!


VietVet1 3 years, 8 months ago

Good to see they'll be putting $190K back in the event. Who's the bookkeeper that keeps account of monies raised?


KaosinAlbany 3 years, 8 months ago

I thought there was suppose to be a parade added on this year. But that is ok, I still had a good time. Note to self, next time bring sun block so I don't get sunburned. lol


AlbPieMaster 3 years, 8 months ago

Now you know as many folks that traveled here this year and ran in the bad weather and enjoyed how Albany treated them, they will be bringing even more here next year. Sun or no sun next year it will be a sunny event for our economy. But yes let's pray for everyone to need sun block next year. And my hat is off to Pan and his wife along with all who worked to make this a good event for Albany.


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