The city of Harlem bustled with activity Saturday as thousands of guests paid tribute to late comedians Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel.
A estimated crowd of between 30,000 and 40,000 people gathered in the streets of Harlem to celebrate the 21st annual Oliver Hardy Festival, according to city officials.
Harlem Mayor Bobby Culpepper described the event as "wholesome" family-oriented fun.
"I think you have something for everyone," he said.
The warm, sunny weather also could have contributed to the large crowd.
"Out of 21 years, we've had great weather every time except maybe once," Culpepper said.
Among those in attendance was Chris Coffey, of Liverpool, England. He is a member of the Laurel and Hardy international fan club, Sons of the Desert.
Coffey attended the festival for the first time as part of a Georgia tour he and other club members took.
"This was the major place to go," said Coffey, a club member for 20 years. "It's just marvelous."
Laurel and Hardy impersonators Dennis Moriarty and Dale Walter, on the other hand, are familiar faces in Harlem during the festival.
The duo from Canton, Ohio, have served as grand marshals of the festival's parade for 16 consecutive years. They spent the entire week leading up to the event in Harlem promoting the city, its festival and the Laurel and Hardy Museum on North Louisville Street.
Moriarty, who professionally impersonates Laurel, said the festival is "unbelievable."
"These two men (personified) team work," he said. "They were a recognized team for more than 30 years."
The festival is held each year as part of an effort to keep Hardy's legacy alive.
Hardy was born in Harlem on Jan. 18, 1892. The funny man and his partner made 106 films.
Thousands of people also lined the streets of Harlem on Saturday to watch the event's annual parade.
"This is my favorite part: the parade," said Shelley Williams, who brought her 4-year-old daughter to the event. "I'm a big kid, too."
The Grovetown resident said she feels the festival is both fun and safe for her and her daughter.
During the parade, children eagerly awaited as candy was thrown from floats and vehicles.
"She's waiting on the candy," Williams said of her daughter.
Though the parade brought him to the festival, Appling resident Harold Green also was excited to check out the food vendors. He said he plans to attend again next year.
"It helps the economy, and it helps the city of Harlem," he said.
The event has become a tradition for the citizens of Harlem and surrounding areas.
"It has a life of its own now," Culpepper said.
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