Thousands enjoy free football, New Year's activities in the French Quarter

Thousands enjoy free football, New Year's activities in the French Quarter

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Tuesday's chilly weather didn't keep people from visiting the French Quarter. In fact, huge crowds are in town for both the Sugar Bowl and New Year's festivities.

At the Allstate Fan Fest along the riverfront, hundreds gathered Tuesday night to watch Fitz and the Tantrums perform. Among the sea of Ohio State and Alabama fans, tourists in town for New Year's Eve blended into the crowd.

The Ricci family from Wisconsin, who are here celebrating the holiday, say that's what they love about the city - there's never a dull moment.

"We've been down to the French Quarter and the French Market, and we've been over to the Riverwalk Mall, so there's so much fun to do in New Orleans," said Jen Ricci.

Like so many others, they found a ton of activities for their children to partake in, especially at the fan fest.

Ohio State fan Gretchen Graziano says of her three boys, "They've been playing all the different games and winning prizes and just enjoying the atmosphere."

Terry Jenkins says of his son, "There's been plenty to do for him. Fan fest has been great and we went through some of the shops and the museum and the zoo and aquarium and everything, so there's plenty to do."

Other first-time visitors are indulging in some New Orleans staples. "We tried oysters for the first time," Mia Yates said.

But the thing these football fans are looking forward to most is Thursday's match-up in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. "We didn't come here to lose so we're playing well, we're ready to go and I like our chances," Jenkins said.

But an Alabama fan contends, "We've got more than a good chance, we're going to win."

Before the game, they'll join the thousands of other people in town to ring in the new year, and they've all got different ideas of how they'll go about doing that.

Cindy Bybee explains, "We're gonna watch the fireworks on the river, it's going to be a lot of fun."

While Jenkins says, "Probably having quite a few beverages and enjoying Bourbon Street."

On New Year's Eve, the band Train will perform a free concert at fan fest starting at 6:15 p.m. Then, at midnight, fireworks will light up the riverfront.

Copyright 2014 WVUE. All rights reserved.