Monday, October 01, 2012

Food, Music or Art Fest? What is the National Shrimp Festival?

Is the National Shrimp Festival, held in Gulf Shores Oct. 11-14, a food, music or arts event? YES. It’s actually a combination of all three with a beach backdrop and a free night (condos 3rd night/houses 4th night). Family festival fun just doesn’t get any better.

This 41st annual fun, family-friendly festival focuses on our favorite crustacean and features music, fine arts, arts and crafts, and a children's village on the beachfront directly in front of The Hangout at the end of Hwy. 59 in Gulf Shores.

Our top ten tips for attending Shrimp Fest:

1. Transportation – Ride the BRATS “Park-N-Ride” shuttle for $2, since parking is extremely limited. Click here for the schedule and locations.

2. Children – The little ones in your group will love the Children’s Activity Village, open 10-5 each day and featuring free arts and crafts, inflatables and entertainment throughout the day.

3. Sand Sculpture Contest – Dive in individually or as a family to make your artistic mark on the beach at the Sand Sculpture Contest on Saturday, Oct. 13. Registration begins at 11 a.m. and the contest runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Age categories are 5-10, 11-15, & 16+, and you can assist your child with his or her creation in the “Family” category, which has a cash prize of $100 for the winner.

4. Music – Bring your portable lawn chair and set up early for your favorite entertainers at either the East or West Stage. Here’s the schedule for four days of music featuring country star Phil Vassar on Friday evening and Eddie Money on Saturday night, along with a wide array of music acts.

5. Run – Register online for the 10K/5K Shrimp Festival Run/Walk benefiting Coastal Baldwin Education Enrichment. You’ll find it at the Orange Beach Sportsplex on Saturday, Oct. 13 beginning at 8 a.m.

6. Arts & Crafts – The area for Arts and Crafts has expanded to allow for even more variety. Give yourself two days, not just one, to browse and shop the 250+ vendors at the Shrimp Festival. Keep in mind that most vendors close shop around 6 p.m. even though the festival continues into the night.

7. Fine Art – Don’t miss this juried section of art that is located at the end of Hwy. 59 (between The Hangout and the Public Beach restrooms) and you’ll find photography, oil & watercolor paintings, sculpture, pottery, jewelry and more from some of the best artists originating from throughout the U.S.

8. Food – There are two sections of food vendors along the beach boardwalk to the east and west of the center of the public beach, so plan to view your selections in both areas. Local restaurants participate in the festival alongside food vendors from other areas serving shrimp, of course, plus other fresh seafood delicacies. There are even a handful of places where you can fill up on the typical festival foods like corn dogs, roasted corn, funnel cakes and even fried Oreos. Be sure to find Rockin’ Roger’s Cajun Cuisine and try their famous Cajun pistols.

9. Dress – We are always casual at the beach. The weather should be warm during the day, with a historical average of 80 degrees, and a little cooler at night with temps averaging 59 degrees.

10. Beach – One of the best reasons to attend the National Shrimp Festival is the beautiful beach venue. So relax, take off your shoes and feel that soft white sand between your toes, or just sit on the boardwalk benches and take in the sights and sounds of the surf.

In addition to this feast for your eyes, ears, and certainly your palate at the National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores, you can feast on a FREE night at select properties during the festival.

Shrimp Festival Deals - 3rd night FREE in condos & 4th night FREE in houses Promo code 12SF
NOTE: Offer includes Fort Morgan, Orange Beach and Perdido Key properties only; Gulf Shores properties excluded. 

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