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Webster’s online encyclopedia defines Jubilee as "the name used locally for a natural phenomenon that occurs from time to time on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. During a jubilee, blue crabs, shrimp and fish swarm toward the shore in such numbers that the shallow water near land seems to boil with life.” For those of us who live on the Alabama Coast, it is a celebrated community event and a mysterious – and most welcomed – gift from nature. For visitors and locals on the Alabama Coast, this time of year offers a ‘jubilee’ of a different sort as the whole Mobile Bay area comes alive with an abundance of festivals and events - from art and music to coastal cuisine and outdoor activities. It’s a bountiful harvest just waiting to be caught.

WATERWAY VILLAGE ZYDECO & CRAWFISH FESTIVAL & 5K RUN April 15, Gulf Shores |  The Waterway Village Zydeco and Crawfish Festival boils up a beaucoup of fun in Gulf Shores. Locals and visitors are invited to sink their teeth into hot, juicy crawfish throughout the day while dancing to the infectious rhythms of some of the best Zydeco bands from around the South. There will be arts and crafts vendors and children’s activities. This third annual event is a result of a unique collaboration between the City of Gulf Shores, the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism and Waterway Village merchants, including Acme Oyster House, Lulu’s, Tacky Jacks, Gulf Coast Arts Alliance, The Diner, ByWater Bistro, Big Beach Brewing Company and Wheeles Karate Academy. The festivities will kick off at 8 a.m. with the Zydeco and Crawfish Festival 5K benefitting Furrever Homes.  The good times will roll all day long as the crawfish pots begin boiling at 10 a.m. and the Zydeco sounds will be grooving until 6 p.m.

DAUPHIN ISLAND GUMBO FESTIVAL April 28-29, Dauphin Island |  Don’t miss the 8th Annual Dauphin Island Gumbo Festival. This Year’s Gumbo Festival will be April 28th and 29th outside of Fins and Pirate’s Bar & Grill! Tickets are only $10. All proceeds from this year’s cook-off will help build the new basketball courts on Dauphin Island and help fund other kids projects on Dauphin Island. This is an island event you won’t want to miss. For more information, check out Fin’s Bar on Facebook.

INTERSTATE MULLET TOSS April 28-30, Orange Beach |  The Interstate Mullet Toss is always held the last full weekend in April. The Interstate Mullet Toss and Gulf Coast’s Greatest Beach Party is legendary. What started as just a reason to party has become one of the biggest beach parties on the coast. People from all over the globe come to throw a mullet from a 10-foot circle in Alabama across the state line into Florida. There is a $15 entry fee to toss a mullet, and winners will receive prizes such as trophies and Flora-Bama gift certificates.  Not to mention it’s a great excuse to throw a weekend long party, with lots of fun activities, great music and food! Each year over $20,000 is raised for local charities, especially youth organizations.  Noon, Fri.; 10 a.m., Sat. & Sun 17401 Perdido Key Dr., Perdido Key. Parking is $10 per car and lots will be manned by local charities and youth sport groups. Celebrity tossers are at high noon Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Shuttles at $5 per head will be running non-stop starting 7a.m. on F. - Sun. Pick up spots are the Publix parking lot in Orange Beach and the Winn-Dixie lot in Perdido Key. For more info contact (850) 492-0611 or visit www.florabama.com
 
DELTA WOODS & WATERS EXPO April 30, Spanish Fort |  The Delta Woods and Waters Expo, an annual event sponsored by the City of Spanish Fort and held at 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center, to celebrate the beauty and diversity of the MobileTensaw Delta.  Featuring a variety of informative presentations, exhibitions and interactive displays by experienced outdoorsmen, professionals, educators and enthusiasts, the Delta Woods & Waters Expo includes numerous fun and exciting hands-on demonstrations which allow attendees to learn and practice new skills with one-on-one instruction.  The mission of the Delta Woods & Waters Expo is to promote responsible and enjoyable outdoor recreational experiences through a fun and educational event. 9:00am to 4:00pm. Admission is free. www.deltawoodsandwatersexpo.com

13TH ANNUAL GULF COAST HOT AIR BALLOON FESTIVAL May 4-6, Foley |  More than 40 balloons will light up the fields and soar through the skies, May 4-6, during the 13th annual Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival presented by the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce and Tanger Outlets. A family friendly event, the festival has activities for everyone! Festival admission is free with select activities for an additional charge. At the festival grounds, the whole family can enjoy carnival rides, tethered balloon rides, balloon glows, balloons in flight, arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, and live music and more! Balloons fly at dawn and dusk each day weather permitting. The festival kicks off on Thursday, May 4 with a balloon glow from 6-7pm, at Tanger Outlets located at 2601 S McKenzie St in Foley. The excitement moves to festival grounds on Friday, May 5 from 2-10 pm and Saturday, May 6 from 6am-10pm. On Saturday morning the first annual Color Dash 5k run will begin at the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce, in downtown Foley, ending at the festival grounds! Runners will run through streams of color while the balloons take flight overhead! Come out and enjoy Mustache the Band and The Molly Ringwalds among other local favorites. Other highlights include a VIP area where, for a small fee, you’ll have a place to rest and enjoy freshly prepared heavy hors d’oeuvres, water, soft drinks and adult beverages. For more information on the Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival or to purchase Balloon Bucks, VIP passes, directions and parking, please, visit www. gulfcoastballoonfestival.com or call 251-943-3291 * All balloon flights and displays are weather permitting. Winds must be less than 5 mph to safely inflate balloons on the festival grounds.

3RD ANNUAL DOG RIVER MUD BOTTOM REVIVAL MUSIC FESTIVAL May 7, Dog River |  Dog River Clearwater Revival (DRCR) organizers are hosting a fun afternoon created to raise awareness and funds while bringing families down to the river to enjoy great music along the way. The third annual Mud Bottom Revival Music Festival at the Dog Pond is set for Sunday, May 7 from 3 to 7 p.m. (doors open at 2pm) with event headliner – the famous Willie Sugarcapps, whose members are individually and collectively well-known and loved both locally and nationally. Two other local favorites, Ryan Balthrop and Slide Bayou, as well as Crowned Jewelz join the line-up. Those attending are encouraged to bring their own beverages, while food will be available for purchase from the Smokin’ Gringo food truck and Cammie’s Old Dutch Ice Cream. Pam Denham - 251.656.3843 or pdenham6400@att.net

ORANGE BEACH WINE FESTIVAL May 13, Orange Beach  | The Orange Beach Wine Fest is one of the most cherished tickets on the island. The festival showcases over 120 wines, three live music acts, food from distinguished local restaurants, boat tours of the bay, custom wine glass, custom wine bag, and even craft beer for the un-winies ...... all for only $45 if you buy before the event. Waves of Wine Fest begins at noon and we have live music for the entire event. Various local artist are chosen for their talent of blending sweet musical harmonies to the taste of the event. We also provide a seating area in front of the stage for those guest who started counting the number of wine samples they have taken. Every ticket holder is provided with a cruise around the bay during the event. Local boats will be arriving at the docks of Caribe Resort and will take you and your friends for a tour of the bay islands. The boats will be running during the entire day so you can enjoy the scenery at your leisure. We will also have several yachts docked for your viewing. Select local restaurants like Cobalt, Cosmos, Sunset Corkroom and Rum Sisters will be providing delicious hors d’oeuvres. Cheese and bread selections will also be available in a designated area. The event takes place at Caribe Resort, therefore Cobalt restaurant is next door for those who want something more substantial.

GALLERY OF GARDENS TOUR May 19-20, Downtown Mobile |  Explore nine charming gardens in three historic Mobile neighborhoods.  In support of Mobile Botanical Gardens, residents in historic the Oakleigh Garden District, Church Street East and de Tonti Square are opening their gardens for the Gallery of Gardens2017. All the gardens are within a two mile radius, so put on your walking shoes or grab your bike and come see what can be done in seven courtyards and two larger spaces.  Master Gardener docents will be available with plant lists and personal knowledge to tell you what is growing in each garden.  Tour hours are from 10:00am – 4:00pm each day. Tickets are $30. For more info go to www. mobilebotanicalgardens.org.

HANGOUT MUSIC FESTIVAL MAY 19-21– Gulf Shores |  Imagine listening to your favorite bands with your toes in the sand, surrounded by your closest friends; that’s the Hangout Music Festival. An annual three-day music festival held at the public beaches of Gulf Shores, the event features many genres of music, including rock, indie, hip hop, and electronic dance music. General admission tickets are $289. VIP passes are $1,099 and Super VIP passes are $1,599. Join us in Gulf Shores, Alabama for music’s ultimate beach vacation. Visit the website for more info: hangoutmusicfest.com

DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL June 10, Mobile |  Dragon Boat Racing is back in South Alabama for year four! Help  Fuse Project  impact more local children in 2017 by signing up to participate on  Saturday,  June 10th  at  USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park! With origins dating back 2,300 years, dragon boat racing is a fun, unique cultural event featuring adrenaline-pumping action. Teams of 21 people race in authentic 46-foot long Hong Kong style dragon boats. Competitors rave about the excitement, friendly competition and community spirit surrounding the sport. All ages, skill levels and physiques perfect their stroke and timing for the ultimate teamwork experience! Fuse Project’s Dragon Boat Festival brings the most fun and unforgettable fundraising experience to the Mobile / Baldwin County area! See how well your team can compete against other local corporate and community teams – and who will win off the water raising money for children in our local community!


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