Cold weather chills turnout for weekend events
While the city of Albany had high hopes for the Mardi Gras festival and Snickers Marathon, organizers say the cold weather made its mark by showing numbers lower than usual.
Thronateeska Executive Director and one of the event's organizers Tommy Gregors says around 6,000 showed up for the Mardi Gras festival and another 12-1,300 came out for the race. Although thousands came to Albany, Gregors says it was the second lowest numbers the event has seen in its 11 years.
The Albany Convention and Visitor's Bureau estimates a $2 million economic impact from those visitors, but organizers say because its lower than usual they plan to more closely watch their budget for next year's event, which is pulled from the same fund.
Riverfront BBQ owner Dale Saunders says he noticed the difference this year by all of the extra food he had left over. Saunders says he luckily can use it throughout this week and order less inventory to make up the difference next week, but he was hoping for higher numbers. While Saunders says he did have a larger amount of sales than usual, it wasn't the same as previous years where he tripled or doubled the amount of Saturday sales thanks to the high number of visitors.
Others, however say they saw a good amount of sales. Jason Warren who owns Our Daily Bread on Washington Street says because of the cold forecast, he only ordered double the amount of food instead of triple, but he almost ran out.
Warren says if he had realized many people would've been coming to his store for the hot food, coffee and hot chocolate, he would've had more staff on and more food prepared.
Downtown Manager Aaron Blair says while the numbers aren't as high as they usually are, any visitors walking around downtown is a good thing for the area. Blair says despite it being a comparatively low number, having 6,000 people walking the streets and seeing what downtown has to offer makes a big difference for the city of Albany.