METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - Family Gras was packed with people making up for the rain out Friday as many filed in to see big named acts, like Tony Orlando and Fifth Harmony, take to the neutral ground.
"The weather was too pretty to stay in so we decided we'd come out and give it a shot. Let's go hear Tony Orlando and have a good time," said Connie Mendel, who was visiting Family Gras for the first time.
In fact, organizers said nearly a third of the people visiting Family Gras are visiting Jefferson Parish Mardi Gras for the first time, which helps boost the economy and expose their version of Carnival.
"I love that it's for families and I'm very impressed with the way they have it set up. You can move and you can get to where you want to go and get back to where you need to be," said Melanie Young.
Organizers said the event has created a $6.8 million impact on Jefferson Parish's economy and boosted hotel occupancy.
"Our hotel occupancy has gone from in the 60% range to the high 90% range. So our hotel occupancy on the first weekend is way up which is terrific," said event organizer Greg Buisson.
That makes a direct impact on vendors and chefs who serve up their unique dishes and art at Family Gras.
For some visitors, it's a chance to take in the community spirit, they don't find at other parades.
"You know, New Orleans it's always fun, Uptown is great, but everyone is with their individual family, individual space, individual plot. This is a little bit better in some ways. A big concert, a big event, it's awesome," said Bryce Heigle, who was documenting the event.
Family Gras continues Sunday with musical acts like Jessie James Decker and Lee Brice.