Downtown Albany Street Festival brings out crowd for a day of food, fun, music

Mar. 4—ALBANY — It was a great afternoon to be out taking in some musical acts and enjoying a variety of food and beverages for those of all ages at the annual Downtown Albany Street Festival at Veterans Park Amphitheater Saturday.

"My godkids, they brought me out here," Dannie Thomas of Albany, who was enjoying nachos with chili, cheese and lemonade with the youngsters, said. "This is my fourth time coming here. It's out of the house, and it's a beautiful day to be out. It's so beautiful out today."

The festival has been around for more than a decade, but this year's event was the second coordinated by the Flint River Entertainment Complex, which manages the amphitheater, the Albany Civic Center and Albany Municipal Auditorium.

For Phares Taylor, Saturday was his seventh time at the festival, and he said he likes it because it is something positive in the community.

"It's something to do in the city, you know, good bands, good music, good food," Taylor said.

Saturday was a first appearance for Carmen Tookes, who was sitting with Taylor, but she also said she was enjoying the bands about two hours into the eight-hour event.

In addition to the live musical performances and DJ on hand, the day included activities like face-painting and T-shirt decoration. In a bounce house, kids pulled themselves up to the top and went sliding down the other side.

A number of vendors were on hand, with offerings including leather goods, clothing and hats.

Rejoyce Dablah had such a good year in 2022 she traveled back to Albany from Atlanta this year to bring goods from her 2nd Generation Imports and Design.

"I have eco-friendly baskets from West Africa, textile fans from Ghana," she said. "We sell tons of clothes.

"I love festivals. I love this time of year. It's spring, everything is fresh. ... it's life again."

At the Urban Christian booth, Shannon Gilford was selling items available from her online business. Although it was her first year at the Street Festival, she said she has been in business for about two years and has had good luck at other festivals.

"Me and my partner, we were at home, both in the school system," she said. "We didn't know when we were going to go back to work. We wanted to create something we had an interest in that would interest people in Albany."

Gilford designs the Christian-themed apparel, which includes sweatshirts, T-shirts and hats, which are available at

Nearby, Reed Coulter, lead educator with the Chehaw Park Zoo was holding Po, a 30-year-old ball python.

"This was also called the royal python," he said. "The royalty in Africa would wear them around their necks like jewelry. They're very docile."

Part of the educational display included an elephant's tusk and the skin of a massive African rock python. Those items were seized by the federal government and are on loan as examples of what people should not bring into the country.