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50th Annual National Shrimp Festival to bring food, art, music and crowds to Gulf Shores

Coastal Alabama Business Chamber

The 50th Annual National Shrimp Festival is coming to Gulf Shores with music, food and art. This free event will be Oct. 12 -15 and is expected to bring big crowds to coastal Alabama.

National Shrimp Fest, 1999
Coastal Alabama Business Chamber
National Shrimp Fest, 1999

Baldwin County’s National Shrimp Festival started in the 1970’s as a way to celebrate the area’s seafood industry. Back then, it consisted of an estimated 1,500 locals, fireworks and a local restaurant setup, said Ryan Moberly, the communications director for the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber.

Today, the festival brings in over 250,000 people to the shores of Coastal Alabama and has expanded with live music, food vendors, contest and shopping.

“It's just the time when everybody in the area is able to come together. We have folks from other states that get to come down and enjoy doing something nice for the community that folks have enjoyed since the 1970s,” said Moberly.

Coastal Alabama Business Chamber

This festival is expecting another great year of music with performances from both local and national artist. With two different stages on the festival grounds, attendees can expect a wide variety of music.

“It’s all sorts of genres. It's rock and roll. It's jazz, it's R&B, it's blue it's country. It's going to be a genre of music or a musician that will appeal to everybody,” said Moberly.

One thing that has stayed the same since the start of the festival is the seafood. Shrimp served up in every shape and form will be available at this year’s event. A popular dish, The Cajun Pistol, a baguette stuffed with cheese and seafood, will also be available to order this year.

As a part of the festival’s 50th year, there will be special events to celebrate the occasion, said Moberly. There will be poster signings by this year’s winning designer, sandcastle sculpting classes and the return of the Wet Willie, a band who has performed at the National Shrimp Festival in 1999.

“They [Wet Willie] started in the early 70s had some hits on the Billboard Top 100 and really become a favorite in the state of Alabama. They actually headlined the festival of ours back in 1999. And for this year, being the 50th kind of a milestone event, we wanted to have a throwback act,” said Moberly.

The 50th Annual Shrimp Festival is Oct. 12 – Oct. 15 at 101 Gulf Shores Pkwy. The event is free to the public and is run by the help of volunteers.

For more information on the festival, visit the 50th Annual National Shrimp Festival website.

Hannah Holcombe is a student intern at the Alabama Public Radio newsroom. She is a Sophomore at the University of Alabama and is studying news media. She has a love for plants, dogs and writing. She hopes to pursue a career as a reporter.
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