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      Albany Mardi Grad Festival adding parade

      Next year TMs Mardi Gras Festival in Albany is expanding, adding different events and more days to enjoy the festivities.

      The first Saturday in March will mark the tenth annual Mardi Gras Festival. Along with the usual activities such as music, food and the Snickers marathon, there will now be a family-friendly Mardi Gras Parade complete with floats, costumes and bead throwing.

      "Being the tenth one we just discussed on several occasions what we can do to add to the event being the tenth one and pretty much the concession was let TMs do a parade on Friday and spread it over a three day period," says Phil Cannon, Chairman of the Downtown Merchants Association.

      Any businesses or community members interested in participating in the Mardi Gras Festival and Parade -- whether it be as a vendor or a float -- can attend a community meeting on Thursday at Merry Acres at 5 p.m.The deadline for float applications is January 13. Applications can be dropped off at the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau. Cannon says they want to keep the cost of floats for participants as low as possible.

      Downtown Manager Aaron Blair says he wants the floats and costumes for the Mardi Gras Parade to be over-the-top and festive.