Record crowds turn out for Family Gras

Metairie, La. - Organizers of Family Gras are reporting record crowds, thanks in part to headliner Frankie Valli. Valli, Saturday night's closing act. For Valli's performance, crowds swelled to an estimated 100,000 people. Even before his performance, though, crowds were thick.  By early afternoon, police were forced to close down traffic on both sides of Veterans near Lakeside Mall.

In addition to Saturday's crowds of 100,00, it's estimated another 25,000 people turned out on Friday. That brings this year's total number of concert goers to 125,000. That's higher than any other year, which is especially significant when you consider this year's event only consisted of two days, instead of the normal three. The concert wasn't held on Sunday, as it usually it, due to the Super Bowl. Last year, Family Gras lured an estimated 85,000 people during the 3-day event.

In addition to the locals who traditionally attend this event, Family Gras also brought in thousands of people visiting New Orleans for the Super Bowl. Among the out-of-towners, it's estimated that most of those were Ravens fans, visiting from the Baltimore/Washington DC area. The concert festival also attracted visitors from California, New Jersey, Texas and Nevada, just to name a few states. Organizers say the visitor who traveled the farthest to attend Family Gras came from New Zealand.

Valli, who is 78 years old, gained fame from his hit songs recorded over decades, including his work with the Four Seasons. The Tony Award-winning musical, Jersey Boys, which was based on the vocal quartet, recently ended a successful run at the Mahalia Jackson Theatre.