Rain forces scheduling changes for Family Gras



Posted on February 10, 2012 at 11:30 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 10 at 11:43 PM

Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News

METAIRIE, La. - So far this year, Carnival Parades have dodged any downpours.

But rainfall Friday afternoon forced a few scheduling changes for Family Gras.

The three-day event, which features live music and food booths, kicked off Friday night on Veterans Boulevard in Metairie.

Attendees bundled up in coats and scarves, bracing for dropping temperatures. But many were thankful an afternoon storm had ended.

"Had my fingers crossed hoping it would stop by that time and they said it would and it has," said Maria Kest of Kenner.

The wet weather prompted organizers to push the bands back half an hour. That gave crews time to pour sand over puddles near the stages.

Some vendors much of the rain happened while they were setting up.

"The rain make it a little difficult, trying to move around, the water fall beneath the tents, but other than that, it's all, it's a blessed day," said Dimitry Sylvester, of MyMe's Catering.

Organizers said, in light of the forecast, the crowd was larger than expected.

More than 80,000 people enjoyed the festival last year. It had a $6.6 million economic impact. And organizers believe this year will be bigger and better.

Thousands also lined the streets of Metairie for parades Friday night. The Krewe of Excalibur, followed by the Krewe of Atlas, rolled past Family Gras, both breathing a sigh of relief that the rain held off.

Gloria Penning, 90, takes some of the credit.

"You know, I went out and watered the plants this morning, just to make sure the water would come down before the parade," joked Penning. "And it did."

Family Gras is scheduled to run from 11 AM through 7:30 PM Saturday, and then 10 AM to 5 PM Sunday. The event is free and open to the public.