Dubbed the “fruit of the sea” by Bubba Gump, shrimp can truly be served up just about any way you can think of – barbecued, boiled, sauteed, broiled, baked, fried, stir fried, in shrimp salad, along with potatoes and onions, on a burger, in a sandwich, and alongside almost any other dish. And at the 43rd Annual National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores, referred to as the Shrimp Fest by most, you’ll likely find all those varieties and more.
Art, music, and games are featured, along with a massive amount of shrimp, at this fun and family-friendly beach event. This year’s festival will be held October 9-12 and is presented by Zatarain’s (so you’ll definitely run across some Cajun flavors) on the gorgeous beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama. Best of all, Shrimp Fest is FREE to all! Just head to the public beach access (in Gulf Shores) at the intersection of Highway 59 and Highway 182 for some delicious flavors, live music, beautiful beach weather, and tons of fun!
Bringing in an estimated 250,000 people, Shrimp Fest is one of the biggest and best outdoor festivals in the country. More than 300 vendors will be on hand to showcase and sell their fantastic arts and crafts, fine art, clothing, accessories, and of course, shrimp!
No one is left out at the Shrimp Fest, with stages, vendors, and designated areas that will appeal to people from 1 to 100. Live music goes round the clock at the two stages, and the Children’s Activity Village offers art activities and games for kids. The Outdoor Village will appeal to the guys. It’s all about fishing, hunting, boating, and outdoor recreation. Others will enjoy the goods at the Retail Marketplace, the fine arts tents, and the arts and crafts exhibitors.
Want to do more than just look around? The 43rd Annual National Shrimp Festival will feature contests for all. Lace up your tennis shoes and take part in the 5K or 10K run on October 11, show off your skills at the Sand Sculpture Contest from 11 a.m – 5 p.m. on the same day, or sign up to be a vendor at next year’s show (the application process for 2014 is closed). Also, come out and support area schools and students as you listen to the most talented youths in Baldwin County, Alabama. The Shrimp Festival Idol Contest is back by popular demand (at the west stage) and will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
Food & Drink
Saturday will feature the announcement of the 7th Annual Restaurant Challenge winners at 3:15 p.m. It’ll give you great ideas on where to eat while you’re in town! While it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to resist trying the shrimp (and why would you want to?), there are lots of other options for those so inclined. Shrimp Fest vendors will have dessert, burgers, tacos, and more, so everyone can find something they love.
The Annual National Shrimp Festival doesn’t disappoint when it comes to great music, and this year’s festival is no exception. Everyone from The Sand Band and The Tip Tops to Meghan Linsey and Keith Anderson will be setting the stage for tons of fun. Check the lineup online to see a full list of performers and show times.
Parking is on a first come, first serve basis, and it will be crowded. It’s often smart to take advantage of the shuttle services. Shuttles are just $2/person/way, and they run from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. A list of pick up and drop off spots can be found online.
Because Gulf Shores is so busy during Shrimp Fest, Fort Morgan is the perfect place to stay. You’ll be just down the road from all the action, but you’ll be far enough away to avoid the worst of the traffic. Enjoy peaceful days on the beach in Fort Morgan before you head to the packed festival! When you don’t feel like hanging out at Shrimp Fest, you won’t be fighting crowds to relax on the beach. Check out our condos or beach houses for a great place to stay in Fort Morgan!