New Orleans, LA. (WVUE) - Twenty-six thousand people will hit the pavement this Saturday for the Crescent City Classic.
"We grew our out of town folks, people out of Louisiana runners by 27 percent," says Ricky Thomas.
All 50 states are represented and runners from 17 countries are here.
"It's a lot of memories for us. We enjoy the party aspect of it and it's an incentive to keep running. We come back to visit New Orleans," says Ken Wagner.
For so many, the 10-K race is just part of the experience.
"We're eating crawfish with family tonight. We are taking the kids to the French Quarter tomorrow and just letting them enjoy the weather," says Caleb Martiny.
Easter is traditionally a slower time for the tourism industry, but the Crescent City Classic helps to boost the economy.
Hotels are 90 percent filled around the city tonight.
Just as race participants start to leave, the party kicks up again when Jazz Fest goers fill the Fairgrounds.
The two weekend festival begins next Friday and is expected to attract more than 400 thousand people.
The first weekend will be extremely busy. That's because at the same time, a major convention will be in town with 12 thousand attendees.
For now though, runners and walkers from all over the world are ready to converge on the streets of New Orleans from the French Quarter to City Park.
The race begins at 8 o'clock Saturday morning.
FOX 8 will stream the race live on our web site.