February 15, 2009

Family Gras draws thousands in Louisiana

Thousands of people took part in the third annual Family Gras celebration in Metairie, La., an organizer says.

Violet Peters, Jefferson Convention and Visitors Bureau president, estimated 4,000 people took part in the annual celebration in Metairie during its first couple days despite rainy weather, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported Saturday.

This year's festival, which ran Friday through Sunday, included appearances by rock musician Gavin DeGraw and singer Tony Orlando.

Friday's opening night also included parades by Excalibur and Atlas Carnival event organizers.

Everything's going fantastic, Peters said.

For Metairie residents such as Jill Vicknair, 34, the family-friendly festival offers a calmer alternative to New Orleans' Mardi Gras celebrations.

It's not too crowded, Vicknair told The Times-Picayune. I love the bands and the food and the crafts.