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Thousands enjoy Mardi Gras in downtown Albany (VIDEOS and PHOTO GALLERY)

Spring weather brings patrons to downtown Albany’s 13th Mardi Gras in droves

The weather was perfect for a good time as people attending Albany's 13th annual Mardi Gras music festival in the 100 block of Pine Avenue got into the music.


The 100 block of Pine Avenue was filled with people Saturday for music, fun and food at the 2014 Albany Mardi Gras Music Festival, including one young fellow in particular who was grooving to some jazz.


Polly Cosper of Albany enjoys this bungee trampoline in the kid’s area at this year’s Mardi Gras festival held in downtown Albany Saturday. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)

Polly Cosper of Albany enjoys this bungee trampoline in the kid’s area at this year’s Mardi Gras festival held in downtown Albany Saturday. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)

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Albany Mardi Gras Scenes 2014

The 100 block of Pine Avenue was filled with people Saturday for music, fun and food at the 2014 Albany Mardi Gras Music Festival, including one young fellow in particular who was grooving to some jazz.

The 100 block of Pine Avenue was filled with people Saturday for music, fun and food at the 2014 Albany Mardi Gras Music Festival, including one young fellow in particular who was grooving to some jazz.

Video

Mardi Gras 2014 Music and Dancing

The weather was perfect for a good time as people attending Albany's 13th annual Mardi Gras music festival in the 100 block of Pine Avenue got into the music.

The weather was perfect for a good time as people attending Albany's 13th annual Mardi Gras music festival in the 100 block of Pine Avenue got into the music.

ALBANY — After two straight years of disappointing turnouts because of bad weather, Albany’s annual Mardi Gras music street festival once again saw thousands descend on the city’s downtown Saturday to enjoy good music, good food and — in typical Mardi Gras fashion — good times.

The party kicked off at noon beneath blue skies and ideal temperatures in the mid-60s as the Evergreen Family Band, one of nine musical acts that performed throughout the day, welcomed those who arrived early.

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By mid-afternoon, the 100 block of Pine Avenue was filled with visitors and families who were strolling and dancing in the streets as a bright spring sun shone down and a myriad of musical styles filled the air.

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“It’s great, we couldn’t have asked for better weather,” said volunteer Teresa Smith of Albany’s Thronateeska Heritage Center as the sky turned toward dusk. “All the vendors have been very happy and there’s so much to do. It’s just great to be downtown.”

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Flint RiverQuarium volunteer Matisse Murphy introduces a 2-year-old alligator that resides at the aquarium’s blue hole to a new friend at Saturday’s Mardi Gras street festival in downtown Albany. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)

Phil Cannon, who was instrumental in starting the Mardi Gras event in Albany 13 years ago, agreed with Smith, saying that this year’s turnout was better than the previous two years combined, something he also attributed to the spring-like weather.

“Well, the last two years it rained, so this has just been a great turnout,” Cannon said. “Everybody’s been cooped up all winter with the cold and now they want to be out. I don’t know the numbers but I’d say we had more people at 4 this afternoon than the last two years combined.”

It wasn’t just event organizers who considered the event a success, but patrons as well. Most in attendance appeared visibly happy to be out having a good time with friends and loved ones.

“I’m having a really good time,” said Albany’s MacKenzie Williams, who took some time to add a few personal touches to the downtown Art Park on Pine, which was open to the public to coincide with the festivities. “I’ve come before and it’s really better than last year.”

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A crowd at this year’s downtown Albany Mardi Gras street festival spontaneously breaks into a group dance during a cover performance of Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” by local band Relapse. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)

Albany resident Walter Hayes echoed those sentiments, saying that after attending the past few years despite the cold and wet weather, he was pleased that the weather cooperated this time and he has was able to really enjoy himself.

“The weather’s been great,” said Hayes. “Just right, not too hot, not too cold.”

In addition to his excitement about the great weather, Hayes said he was truly thrilled to see so many from the community enjoying themselves and enjoying downtown Albany.

“I usually come every year,” Hayes said. “It’s great for downtown and it’s great for the whole city and whole community.”

The positive community impact was also something Eric Culbreth, owner of Cool Scoops restaurant which is located on the block occupied by the Mardi Gras festival, was pleased to see.

“It’s been a great thing for downtown Albany,” Culbreth said. “Anytime you bring attractions in, it raises the profile of everything. I’m all for folks doing anything for Albany, Georgia as a whole. We all just need to stop complaining about all that’s wrong about everything and get out and do something. There’s plenty of great things going on. This is just great.”