Sunday, February 15, 2009

Thousands turn to the celebration of Family Gras in Metairie

Despite the thousands of people crammed into the Family Gras in Metairie Pending People rocker Gavin DeGraw to take the stage on Saturday afternoon, 5 years, Nathan Vicknair appears to be in a world like his own imagination, he celebrated touch, clutching his neon orange football as he jumped into his folding chair.

Sitting next to him, Meghan Lauland, also 5, studiously drawing in color of Strawberry Shortcake, looking through a box of crayons and markers she shared with sister Mia, 3.

Behind them, their parents, families of veterans Gras, discussed before the next round began.

"We love it," said Nancy Lauland, 35, of Metairie.

"It's not too crowded," in Jill Chimed Vicknair, 34, also of Metairie. "I love the bands and the food and crafts."

The second day of Family Gras took a soggy start. But the showers have been completed in 11 hours, prompting a good showing Saturday afternoon.

"Everything is fantastic," said Violet Peters, president of the Jefferson Convention and Visitors Bureau, which organized the event.

She estimated a crowd of 4,000 attended the 3-year-old celebration of the kick-off Friday evening, featuring Tony Orlando. There was some rain, but the krew Excalibur and Atlas still rode on the course Metairie.

Peters was no crowd, the number of Saturday, but she said attendance has already passed on Friday evening by 1 pm

At midday, the main stage and the place belonged to teenagers, who swarmed in the hundreds to hear the local rock band, and We The Kings Vettes and The Cab.

As singer Rachel Vette Vettes pranced around the stage in a gold lame Jumpsuit, Julie Polk, 15, Laplace, sang and swayed on the shoulders of her boyfriend, Kevin Scharwath, 17, of Paulina.

"I've been to all their concerts. I like a lot, "said a beaming Polk, who decided to attend the Family Gras once she discovered the group was part of the range.

Later, the crowd shouted the words of girls and a sea of hands flew into the air each time the lead singer of pop group The Kings, we waved to the crowd to join in.

During the Louisiana to the stage, behind the restaurant on Chevy Hullen Street North, a little crowd bopped Bobby Cure and the Summertime Blues, the group did a little Barry White before breaking into "Boogie Shoes" by KC and the Sunshine Band.

Family Gras first Convent Danny, 59, of Metairie, a sports neckful purple Mardi Gras beads, found a place near the front of the stage. What began with his right foot pressing the sync with the tempo of its spread to the hip as he began to skip and dip.

Before the first chorus, his fiancée, Donna Gordy, 53, was taken out of his chair and gorges beside him.

"We love Bobby, and we love to dance," says Gordy.

Louisiana, the stadium, a new addition to the family Gras, and a new art market, which spilled on the parking lot of Whole Foods store Memorial Veterans Boulevard, made this event a real festival.

The market featuring over 60 vendors of paintings, photographs, Mardi Gras masks, wood and leather work, clothing, art and skateboarding Koochie Kooza, a beer holder adorned with feathers, exotic , prints and beads.

More tents near the North Hullen crafts, Stephen and Lynne Pesce break from Metairie to move the chicken tenders to their daughters, Allison, 2, and Annie, 1, who were seated in a double stroller.

SCIP said they attended the family Gras last year, but spent most of their time in the vicinity of Lakeside Shopping Center, because it rained a lot.

The couple gave the event high marks for supporting local vendors and musicians. But the girls had the pleasure for a different reason.

"They like to go with music and chicken nuggets," says Lynne Pesce.

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