Calendar of Events

What’s happening on the byway? Get the latest information here. From music festivals to regattas to street fairs, you won’t miss a thing.

Memorial Day service at Miller Memorial Cemetery

between mile markers 17 and 16, Fort Morgan Rd, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

American Legion Post 44 invites the public to honor our fallen heroes. Members of Post 44 will conduct a Memorial Day service at Miller Memorial Cemetery between Mile Markers 17 and 16, Fort Morgan Rd in Gulf Shores. The ceremony will honor all deceased veterans from all the branches of the services and conflicts, beginning with the Civil War to today's terrorism activities.

Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band

4550 Main St., Orange Beach, AL 36561

The wait is over. Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band, will perform at The Wharf Amphitheater for one night only as part of Jimmy Buffett’s “I Don't Know'” Tour 2016.
Local Parrotheads won't want to miss their chance to soak in the full Margaritaville experience.
We are so happy to welcome Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band back to the beach! This concert is
always one of the best parties of the summer and the Parrotheads from all over the Gulf Coast come out to

Sherlock Holmes and the Clocktower Mystery

65 Government St., Mobile, AL 36633

A terrible crime has been committed and Victorian London’s most celebrated detective needs your help to find out “whodunit”! Sherlock Holmes and the Clocktower Mystery opens at the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center.
     This interactive, wildly entertaining and very cleaver murder-mystery will test your powers of observation and deductive reasoning. You will need your deerstalker and your thinking cap to solve this baffling thriller.
     What is the Clocktower Mystery? It’s a crime to solve and an exhibition to experience. The mystery is presented in eight chapters, each representing a different location. Movement through the exhibit is sequential. Each Chapter contains between 200 - 400 words. Detective Guides will be handed out to all who enter the exhibit. The guide contains a map and space to record clues and suspects.
     As visitors enter the exhibit, they find themselves transported back in time. The sights, sounds and smells of turn-of-the-century London greet them at every turn. The first locale is the clocktower, where a murder has taken place. The other seven sets that comprise the exhibit range from the clocktower to a seamy dock-side garret. While walking through the scenes, visitors are given clues to the mystery surrounding the murder. These clues-carefully placed as physical evidence among the many period objects in the rooms are handwritten police reports, overheard sound tracks of interviews, printed summaries of the events and even tell-tale odors. Each scene is laden with clues and “red herrings”.
     Once visitors feel that they have the name of the murderer or have reached the final chapter, they find themselves at the door that leads to a study. In the study, there is an interactive consultation with one of the characters of the story (who is played by a live actor). Visitors are questioned about their conclusions, and the mystery is solved in a dramatic finale.
     The exhibit experience is ideal as a family outing, school tour or group entertainment. Plan to be involved with the exhibit for about an hour.

June and July 2016 Daily Guided Tours

Gulf Shores,

June and July 2016 Fort Morgan Historic Site will offer a guided tour daily by Dylan Tucker our new Cultural Resources Specialist and his interpretive staff. A guided tour will be held each day at 10am. Tours will last approximately 1 hour. You will learn about the military, architecture, and daily life history of the grounds. When the tour is over, you will be able to explore on your own. Bring a lunch and eat at the picnic tables, or grab a snack at the Historic Southern Grill. No reservations are required. If you have questions, please contact Dylan at after June 1, 2016. In the event of cancelations, there will not be a rescheduled tour.

Wonderful Wednesdays at Bellingrath: Summer Garden Walk

12401 Bellingrath Gardens Rd., Theodore, AL 36582

Join Bellingrath’s Horticultural Management Team for a guided tour of the gardens to see our wonderful summer displays, floral borders and new additions. Stay for lunch in our Magnolia Café and check out our new merchandise in the Bellingrath Gift Shop.

Music and a Movie in the Park presents: MAX / Baldwin POPS/ Foley Police Canine Unit

101 E Laurel Ave., Foley, AL

Bring a blanket or lawn chairs and enjoy a movie, music and entertainment under the stars. Concessions will be available for purchase.

The Foley PD Canine Unit Demonstration will be held at 6 p.m.

Enjoy the Annual Foley Memorial Day Concert by the Baldwin POPS, an assortment of fantastic talent in this local ensemble. During this performance there will also be a children’s flag parade and a salute to the U.S. Military.

MAX- will begin at dusk. A dog that helped US Marines in Afghanistan returns to the U.S. and is adopted by his handler’s family after suffering a traumatic experience. MAX is a movie that will tug on those heart strings and the entire family can enjoy.

Heritage Park Marketplace is open from 4-7 p.m.  Vendors include baked goods, plants, produce arts, crafts and more. This is a free outdoor family event.

12th Annual Publix Grandman Triathlon

3 Beach Rd., Fairhope, AL

In its twelfth year, The Grandman Triathlon has become one of Fairhope's premier annual events, attracting individual and team racers of all ages and skill levels from around the Southeast and beyond. The event features between 700-800 racers and requires up to 150 volunteers.

Racers begin the race by jumping from the end of Fairhope Pier into Mobile Bay and swimming 1/3-mile to the shore. Following the swim, racers bike 18 miles, beginning up a steep hill before continuing through the quaint city of Fairhope. Racers conclude the triathlon with a 5K run alongside scenic Mobile Bay, crossing the finish line at Fairhope Park.

Proceeds from the race benefit three local non-profit organizations: Mobile Baykeeper, myTeam Triumph: Southern Alabama, and Gulf Coast Area Triathletes.

Tuesday Evening Civil War Tours

110 Hwy. 180 W., Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Watch Fort Morgan's Civil War history come to life every summer during the evening tours. Historical interpreters, portraying members of the garrison, tell about the lives of the soldiers during the fort's most turbulent years. Demonstrations of Civil War small arms drill will occur throughout the evening as well as the firing of one of the fort's artillery pieces at the conclusion of the tour.



Kids Gulf Discovery Day

12401 Bellingrath Gardens Rd., Theodore, AL 36582

Children of all ages will enjoy learning about the wildlife and ecology of the Gulf Coast from a variety of environmental organizations. The Environmental Studies Center will bring their Raptor Road Show to engage and educate guests about the wonders of native birds of prey. Visitors may also take a cruise along the beautiful Fowl River with our friends from Delta Safaris. Space is limited and reservations are required for the cruises, so be sure to make your reservations early. Times are 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. For more information call or visit our website.

Music and a Movie in the Park presents: Planes Fire and Rescue / One Fair Trio / Foley Fire Dept. Safety Demonstration

101 E Laurel Ave., Foley, AL

Bring a blanket or lawn chairs and enjoy a movie, music and entertainment under the stars. Concessions will be available for purchase.

The Foley Fire Dept. Safety Demonstration will be held at 6 p.m.

One Fair Duo will be singing and entertainment on the gorgeous lawn of Heritage park from 6 - 8 p.m.

Planes Fire and Rescue -movie will begin at dusk. When Dusty learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he joins a forest fire and rescue unit to be trained as a firefighter, or else his air strip will be shut down.

Heritage Park Marketplace is open from 4-7 p.m.  Vendors include baked goods, plants, produce arts, crafts and more. This is a free outdoor family event.

Wonderful Wednesdays at Bellingrath: Caring for Daylilies

12401 Bellingrath Gardens Rd., Theodore, AL 36582

John and Nancy Falck, owners of Hem Haven Daylily Nursery in Fairhope, will show us how to grow beautiful daylilies along the Gulf Coast. Join us as they share their best techniques to grow and maintain these attractive flowers. They will discuss a number of varieties and will have a selection for sale, too. The event is part of our Wonderful Wednesdays series in June and July. Visit for the full schedule.

C Spire Concert Series presents: Keith Urban RipCORD World Tour 2016 with special guests Brett Eldredge & Maren Morris

4550 Main St., Orange Beach, AL 36561

Keith Urban’s ‘ripCORD World Tour 2016 takes place on the heels of his soon to be released eighth studio album release of the same name, which has already produced two singles – his Grammy nominated, No. 1 song, “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” and its second single “Break On Me”, which just became Urban’s 20th No. 1 song. The album will be the follow-up to Urban’s groundbreaking release FUSE, his fourth No.1 album, marking the first time in history that a male Country artist had debuted atop the all-genre charts in the U.S., Canada and Australia.



Music and a Movie in the Park presents: Cinderella / Sugarcane Jane

101 E Laurel Ave., Foley, AL

Bring a blanket or lawn chairs and enjoy a movie, music and entertainment under the stars. Concessions will be available for purchase.

Sugarcane Jane will be singing and entertainment on the gorgeous lawn of Heritage Park from 6 - 8 p.m.

Cinderella- will begin at dusk. When her father unexpectedly passes away, young Ella finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother and her scheming step-sisters. Never one to give up hope, Ella’s fortunes begin to change after meeting a dashing stranger.

Heritage Park Marketplace is open from 4-7 p.m.  Vendors include baked goods, plants, produce arts, crafts and more. This is a free outdoor family event.

Inaugural Race to the River, a 5K and Family Fun Run

250 N. Water St., Mobile, AL 36602

GulfQuest is pleased to announce the inaugural Race to the River, a 5K and Family Fun Run to benefit the museum.  The inaugural Race to the River is another way to bring people right to the riverfront, to get them up close and personal with Mobile’s rich maritime heritage and culture.

While the start and finish lines for the 5K Run and Family Fun Run will be at Ft. Conde Village, the post-race activities, including the awards’ ceremony, will take place along the river in front of GulfQuest. Those festivities will include live music and refreshments, including a local favorite—shrimp and grits, provided by The Galley (GulfQuest's café)—plus door prizes. All registered race and fun run participants will be entered to win door prizes that include a GulfQuest Family Membership and a child’s GulfQuest birthday party.
“What’s also unique about Race to the River is the fact that we are offering half-off GulfQuest admission and half-off GulfQuest memberships for all race participants,” Mike Beasley, GulfQuest Director of Development said. “And, we are extending that offer through Sunday, which is Father’s Day, so it could end up being a great family weekend!”

All proceeds from Race to the River will benefit GulfQuest, a not-for-profit, 501c3 and the world’s first maritime museum dedicated to the Gulf of Mexico’s rich historical, cultural and economic significance. Proceeds will support GulfQuest’s groundbreaking interactive exhibits, traveling exhibits and educational programs, as well as its mission of inspiring visitors of all ages to consider dozens of career opportunities—from welding to research—in the maritime industry.

Race applications are available at McCoy Outdoor, Run-N-Tri or Fleet Feet in Mobile, Running Wild in Fairhope, and at GulfQuest. All entries by mail must be postmarked by June 11. Walk-in applications at any of the above locations must be turned in by June 16 at noon. Online registration ends June 17 at 4 a.m.

Wonderful Wednesdays at Bellingrath: Hydrangea Day

12401 Bellingrath Gardens Rd., Theodore, AL 36582

Bobby Green, owner of Green Nurseries in Fairhope and one of the most knowledgeable horticulturists on the Gulf Coast, will introduce you to hydrangeas and viburnums (which often are presumed to be hydrangeas). Bobby will discuss how to best select and care for hydrangeas in your garden. Be sure to visit the Bellingrath Gift Shop, which will feature a sale of hydrangeas. The event is part of the Wonderful Wednesdays series at Bellingrath in June and July. Visit for the full schedule.

Music and a Movie in the Park presents: Star Wars / Danny ?D? Band

101 E Laurel Ave., Foley, AL

Bring a blanket or lawn chairs and enjoy a movie, music and entertainment under the stars. Concessions will be available for purchase.

Danny “D” Band will be singing and entertainment on the gorgeous lawn of Heritage park from 6 - 8 p.m.

Star Wars -movie will begin at dusk. Three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat arises. The First Order attempts to rule the galaxy and only a ragtag group of heroes can stop them, along with the help of the Resistance.

Heritage Park Marketplace is open from 4-7 p.m.  Vendors include baked goods, plants, produce arts, crafts and more. This is a free outdoor family event.

C Spire Concert Series presents: Brantley Gilbert with special guests Justin Moore & Colt Ford

4550 Main St., Orange Beach, AL 36561

Although it's tempting to call Brantley Gilbert a country artist -- he certainly embraces the outlaw country side of things. Gilbert was born in the small town of Jefferson, Georgia, just outside of Athens. He grew up hearing country music, but he also listened to a lot of Athens rock bands like R.E.M. and the B-52's, plus the swaggering Southern rock of bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd; at his best, Gilbert blends all of these various strains together in his music.


Wonderful Wednesdays at Bellingrath: Cascade Chrysanthemums

12401 Bellingrath Gardens Rd., Theodore, AL 36582

Nursery Manager Chuck Owens will let you in on the secrets of creating Bellingrath’s Fall Outdoor Cascading Chrysanthemums, the nation’s largest outdoor cascading chrysanthemum display, which graces the Gardens every fall. Participants will get a preview of what colors and shapes will be featured on bridges, balconies and in plantings throughout the Gardens this November. Plants will be available for guests that would like to try growing their own cascade at home. Weather permitting, an optional tour of the mum growing area will follow the program. The event is part of our Wonderful Wednesdays series in June and July. Visit for the full schedule.

Salute To American Independence

110 Hwy. 180 W., Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Guided tours by historians will be given throughout the day. Artillery, small arms, and other presentations may
demonstrate the complexities of military garrison life at Fort Morgan.

Wonderful Wednesdays at Bellingrath: Beekeeping on the Gulf Coast

12401 Bellingrath Gardens Rd., Theodore, AL 36582

Rebekah Hargraves, President of the Baldwin County Beekeeper Association, will discuss how to identify and protect honeybees. An introduction into the Basics of Beekeeping is included. Rebekah will bring an observation hive so that guests may get a closer look at the bees, if they wish. Our Gift Shop will carry informational books, beeswax, candles and other goods. The event is part of our Wonderful Wednesdays series in June and July. Visit for the full schedule.

C Spire Concert Series presents: Dierks Bentley with special guests Randy Houser, Cam and Tucker Beatha

4550 Main St., Orange Beach, AL 36561

Since making a life-altering drive with his father from Phoenix to Nashville when he was 19 years old, Bentley has forged his own path in an industry built predominantly on formula. He has mixed elements of modern country, classic country, bluegrass and rock, maintaining an unmistakable identity while constantly reinventing his sound. His album Home debuted at No. 1 and spawned three consecutive chart-topping hits, marking 12 career No. 1 songs for Bentley as a singer and songwriter. His five previous studio albums have sold more than five million copies, garnered 11 GRAMMY nominations and earned him an invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry.

  Concert tickets for this show at The Wharf Amphitheater will be available for only $20 every Friday!

Wonderful Wednesdays at Bellingrath: Beautiful Objects with a Colorful Past

12401 Bellingrath Gardens Rd., Theodore, AL 36582

The Bellingrath Home is marking its 80th anniversary in 2016! Join Museum Director Tom McGehee for a closer look at some of the treasures collected by Bessie Bellingrath and the fascinating stories behind them. Prior owners ranged from tea magnate Sir Thomas Lipton to the president of the Studebaker Automobile Company. An optional tour of the Bellingrath Home will follow the program, which is part of our Wonderful Wednesdays series in June and July. Visit for the full schedule.

Wonderful Wednesdays at Bellingrath: Native Azaleas

12401 Bellingrath Gardens Rd., Theodore, AL 36582

Expert grower Maarten van der Giessen, owner of van Der Giessen Nursery in Wilmer, will talk about deciduous azaleas native to our region, many of which were hybridized by deceased University of South Alabama professor Dr. Eugene Aromi. Find out how Dr. Aromi kept the best traits of Southeastern native azaleas, adding new flower forms, fragrance and richer colors. A selection of Maarten’s plants will be available in our Gift Shop. The event is part of our Wonderful Wednesdays series in June and July. Visit for the full schedule.

C Spire Concert Series presents: Carnival of Madness Tour 2016 featuring Shinedown, Halestorm, Black Stone Cherry & Whiskey Myers

4550 Main St., Orange Beach, AL 36561

Are you ready to rock? Carnival of Madness Tour is coming to Orange Beach with Shinedown, Halestorm, Black Stone Cherry and Whiskey Myers. You don't want to miss this, so get your tickets online, by phone or at the Wharf Box office.

Twenty One Pilots Emotional Roadshow

4550 Main St., Orange Beach, AL 36561

Twenty One Pilots is bringing the Emotional Roadshow Tour to The Wharf Amphitheater on F. Aug. 5, 2016! Tickets on sale now.

Commemoration of the Battle of Mobile Bay and Siege of Fort Morgan

110 Hwy. 180 W., Gulf Shores, AL 36542

This one day living history event will remember the sacrifices of the United States Armed Forces and Confederate States Armed Forces during this pivotal naval battle and siege.

Uniformed interpreters will bring the fort to life through demonstration of period drills on the fort's parade ground as well as artillery demonstration at the water battery. Special talks given by the site historians will provide insight into the events that transpired as well as introduce topics little written about in books.

3rd Annual Kayak Classic

14772 State Dock Rd, Bayou La Batre, AL

The Bayou La Batre Area Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the South Mobile County Tourism Authority, proudly presents the third annual Bayou La Batre Kayak Classic. This fishing tournament will be held along the coastline of Bayou La Batre and the Gulf of Mexico.

Train with Special Guest Andy Grammer

4550 Main St., Orange Beach, AL 36561

Train is a Grammy Award winning rock band formed in San Francisco, California. To date, three of their albums have peaked in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 and have sold a total of over four million albums in the US. Four of their songs have been top 20 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 including their highest charting (#3) and best selling (certified 5x Multi-Platinum by the RIAA) worldwide hit "Hey, Soul Sister." Train has found success on modern adult contemporary radio stations, where they have had four #1 songs on the Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks chart, the latest being to date their most successful (peaking at #34) secondary single off an album, "If It's Love."

 Concert tickets for this show at The Wharf Amphitheater will be available for only $20 every Friday!

Miranda Lambert "Keeper of the Flame Tour" With Special Guests Kip Moore & Brothers Osborne

4550 Main St., Orange Beach, AL 36561

Miranda Lambert is bringing her “Keeper of the Flame Tour” to The Wharf Amphitheater with special guests Kip Moore & Brothers Osborne.  Tickets go on sale F June 3 at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster and at The Wharf Box Office.

The 28th Annual Alabama Coastal Cleanup


The annual Alabama Coastal Cleanup will also be held on on Sept. 17 from 8 a.m. to noon. The event gives Baldwin residents the opportunity to give back to the environment and their surrounding communities by cleaning up along the coast and waterways and within their cities. Volunteers-involved citizens, community organizations, businesses, individuals, school groups and families-are needed to help with the Coastal Cleanup. Participants can find a cleanup zone near them on our website. All supplies are provided, and volunteers who come out early will receive a free t-shirt. The Alabama Coastal Cleanup is part of an international effort led by the Ocean Conservancy to remove debris from coastal waters. This litter is not only an eyesore but can pose a real threat to both marine wildlife and humans. Participation provides a unique opportunity to be a part of the solution. Alabama joined this effort in 1987, and since then over 77,000 volunteers have removed more than 1.5 million pounds of trash from Alabama's valued coastline and waterways.

Guitar: The Instrument That Rocked the World

65 Government St., Mobile, AL 36633

Encounter the history of the world’s popular musical instrument. Experience diverse genres of music and discover the science of pitch and tone. Find out how the selection of different materials and strings, fused with electromagnetism and amplification, create this elaborate device that has revolutionized music. Examine more than 100 historical artifacts, including nearly 60 guitars, that immerse you in the heart of music. Even play a Guinness Record-breaking 44 foot-long guitar!

The guitar has had a profound effect on American culture, but how much do you know about this versatile instrument?

GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked The World traces its evolution from 3,000 BCE to the present.

Explore a gallery of rare instruments and then experiment with the science of sound using fun playables and interactives. Kids can even rock out with real drums and guitars.

In the hands-on gallery, you can:

• Strum the world’s largest playable guitar, a 43-foot long replica of a Gibson Flying V
• Test your musical memory by playing challenge riffs on a virtual fretboard
• Bang out a beat on a variety of wood types. Which sounds the best?
• “Freeze” a vibrating string using a strobe light
• Design your own dream guitar

The rare instrument exhibit includes over 60 remarkable instruments such as:

• Early Fender, Gibson, Ovation, and Martin guitars (from circa 1835 to present)
• A Ztar Z7S synthesizer guitar with a button for every fret and string – 204 in all
• The Rock Ock, the only playable guitar with 8 necks
• A stunning PRS Dragon guitar inlayed with 238 pieces of gold, red and green abalone; mother of pearl; and woolly mammoth ivory
• Guitars with outrageous paint jobs and shapes designed for rockers like Steve Vai

Taste of the Bayou

12745 Padgett Switch Rd, Irvington, AL

Local cooking teams will compete for the “Taste of the Bayou” Title with locally prepared seafood dishes using fresh Bayou Seafood. Don’t miss your chance to sample the best dishes the south can cook up! Enjoy everything from home-style family recipes to restaurant quality seafood dishes to gumbo, dessert and so much more.

The 13th annual John L. Borom Alabama Coastal BirdFest

450 Fairhope Avenue, Fairhope, AL 36532

We offer expertly guided trips by foot and on boat to prime birding locations on the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail. Our location on the northern Gulf Coast makes this area a major stopover for migratory birds from all over North America-and so fall is a great time to add all sorts of species to your life list.The free Bird and Conservation Expo on the grounds of Faulkner State College in Fairhope, offers hands-on fun and activities for kids of all ages with live raptors and snakes and displays and exhibits from conservation organizations, vendors, artists, and divisions of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Come see us in October! Learn more about birding, add to your life list, and meet other birders as we welcome the fall migration!

Fall Garrison Living History Day

110 Hwy. 180 W., Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Commemoration of the Battle of Mobile Bay and Siege of Fort Morgan

This one day living history event will remember the sacrifices of the United States Armed Forces and Confederate States Armed Forces during this pivotal naval battle and siege.

Uniformed interpreters will bring the fort to life through demonstration of period drills on the fort's parade ground as well as artillery demonstration at the water battery. Special talks given by the site historians will provide insight into the events that transpired as well as introduce topics little written about in books.

5th Annual Alabama Festival of Flavor 2016

112 East Laurel Avenue, Foley, AL 36535

The 5th Annual Alabama Festival of Flavor, sponsored by Riviera Utilities is set to take place Saturday, October 1 in the streets of Historic Downtown Foley. Presented by the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce, The Alabama Festival of Flavor showcases the many flavors of local and regional foods, wine and craft beer. This food, wine and craft beer event is focused on locally grown and produced products. Local Chefs will be preparing unique dishes and brewers from around the state will be on hand to discuss their uniquely crafted beers. Festival guests can stroll the streets of Historic Downtown Foley while sipping and savoring the unique specialty wines, craft beer and delectable cuisine. Catch your favorite team on the big screen in the Game Day tent, sample menu favorites from local restaurants in the Foodie Fix area, learn about wine pairings or home brewing in the Edutainment Tent or visit the Tastings Area for savory tapas paired with wine.

45th Annual National Shrimp Festival

101 Gulf Shores Pkwy., Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Savor fresh from the gulf seafood at the 45th Annual National Shrimp Festival during this four-day event that attracts over 300,000 people. This year the festival will play host to more than 80 hours of musical entertainment featuring a lineup of national, regional and local acts. There will be musical acts to please all palates, including Blues, Motown, Southern Rock, Jazz, Zydeco and Country. The music begins at 10 a.m. each day and runs through 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 5 p.m. on Sunday. Food is another highlight of the festival with 50 local and regional vendors lining the boardwalk at the public beach with mouth watering delights. Due to the generous sponsors, Zatarain's, Organized Seafood Association of Alabama, Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission and Wind Creek Casino, 200 pounds of shrimp per day will be prepared by some of the area's best chefs of their award-winning recipes and given away for people to sample at different tasting times that will be posted on the outside of the sponsor tent. New activities this year include: "Outdoor World" and "Shrimp Festival Idol". Outdoor World will feature fishing, boating, hunting and other outdoor vendors and activities. Shrimp Festival Idol will be an "American Idol" type competition where high school singers from seven local schools will compete in elimination rounds to find out who will become Shrimp Festival Idol. Scholarships will be awarded to the top three contestants. Families can enter the annual sand sculpture contest on Saturday.  Kids can take part in a myriad of activities in the newly relocated Children's Activity Village, including face-painting, karaoke and much more. Runner and walkers can enter the 10K and 5K races to help work off some o fthe great food at the festival. All net proceeds of the Run will be donated to Coastal Baldwin Education Enrichment, benefiting the local Gulf Shores & Orange Beach public schools. Art lovers will have almost 200 booths of fine art and arts and crafts vendors from which to choose. Car lovers will have a chance to preview many of the new Chevrolet models that will be on display.

The Original German Sausage Festival

13052 Main St., Elberta, AL 36530

The Elberta Sausage Festival makes its semiannual return to that South Baldwin hamlet. Held in Elberta Town Park just north of the town’s only stop light on Hwy. 98, the event attracts up to 20,000 revelers, according to organizers.
A 40 year tradition, the festival is a major regional event that attracts a cross section of the community in what has become a reunion type atmosphere. It is also the main revenue source for the area’s volunteer fire department.
Festival fans can enjoy Elberta's famous German sausage and sauerkraut, plus continuous entertainment
for adults and children, and 250 arts & crafts booths. There will also be carnival rides and a full scale Midway.
Of course, there will also be a Bier Garten featuring a large selection of imported and domestic beers.
Other scrumptious foods will include German style filled cabbage, potato salad, goulash, red beans & rice, hamburgers, hot dogs, BBQ sandwiches, ice cream, popcorn and peanuts and homemade baked goods.
The Bellview Stumpfiddle Band will perform with the North End Stompers and other cloggers. There will also be polka, country and German music.
Spearheaded by Elberta's Volunteer Fire Department since 1978, festival proceeds are used for improving not only the fire department, but the town as well.
Additionally, local non-profits benefit from the festival through proceeds from their booth sales and parking lot fees. The festival is held twice a year - on the last Saturday of March and the last Saturday of October. Although it has been tweaked a bit over the years, the original secret recipe for Elberta's famous sausage is credited to Alfred Stucki, who managed Elberta's Locker Plant from 1953 until his death in 1973. About
7,000 pounds of German Sausage are consumed at each fest.

The 2016 Fairhope Film Festival

Fairhope , AL 36532

The Fairhope Film Festival is a film lover’s film festival, offering participants the opportunity to see world-class award winning films in a unique, picturesque location over a four-day period. The focus is on national and international film festival competition finalists of the past year: the “best of the best” in cinema arts. Notable foreign and feature films, documentaries and shorts—many that never made it to the big box theaters or were only there briefly–will be selected for appreciative audiences. Although the festival will pull out all the stops, Southern-style, to host opening and closing events and parties, the emphasis will be on the art of filmmaking and the experience of seeing exceptional films. Directors, actors and screenwriters will participate in the screenings both in person and via live electronic transmission.

Bellingrath's Annual Magic Christmas in Lights

12401 Bellingrath Gardens Road, Theodore, AL 36582

Dates: November 25 - December 31 (Closed December 25th)
Enjoy one of the most popular holiday events in the Southeast. Stroll through the gardens with more than three million twinkling lights in over 1,000 custom designed set pieces in 14 scenes. Tour the Bellingrath Home decorated in its holiday finery. Extended hours to 9:00 PM. Photos with Santa on weekends and the week of Christmas. Complete your holiday shopping in the beautiful Bellingrath Gift Shop!

Krewe De La Dauphine Mardi Gras Parade

Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, AL 36528

The floats are glowing spectacles manned by masked riders festooned in satin and sequins, and armed with crowd-pleasing "throws" such as beads, moon pies, doubloons and candy.

Island Mystics Mardi Gras Parade

Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island, AL 36528

The floats are glowing spectacles manned by masked riders festooned in satin and sequins, and armed with crowd-pleasing "throws" such as beads, moon pies, doubloons and candy.

Order of the Rolling River


Dauphin Island Parkway Krewe float riders toss throws to the crowds; strings of plastic colorful beads, doubloons, decorated plastic throw cups, and small inexpensive toys.

Conde Cavaliers

Mobile, AL

The organization is named after the celebrated French general, Prince de Conde, for whom Fort Conde in downtown Mobile is named.

Bayport Parading Society


Parading on Route A, the first four floats will be occupied by the Mobile Challenged Revelers - children and adults from the Mobile Down Syndrome Society, Augusta Evans School, and MARC.

Pharaohs Mystic Society Mardi Gras Parade


The Pharaohs is an interesting bunch. Its parades are not as big as the more-established men's groups, but they are always different - and very Egyptian.

Order of Hebe


The Order of Hebe (pronounced Hee-Bee) is Mobile's only group specifically for teenagers and young adults. Think of it as a Mardi Gras Explorers post, where young folks learn all about being part of a mystic society.

Conde Explorers Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

According to the group's web site, "The Conde Explorers became the first integrated Mardi Gras society to parade in downtown Mobile. In addition to its parade and ball, the Conde Explorers hold several parties throughout the year, and its members perform volunteer work."

Mystic DJ Riders


Parading on Route A, the first four floats will be occupied by the Mobile Challenged Revelers - children and adults from the Mobile Down Syndrome Society, Augusta Evans School, and MARC.

Order of the Polka Dots Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

The Order of Polka Dots was founded by 20 women in May 1949 and in 1950 was the first ladies' organization to parade in Mobile. Still a robust and active group, they were a trailblazer for a number of ladies' organizations.
The group's emblem is the Gypsy Queen, and its nine officers represent the nine ancient Greek Muses: Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpischore, Thalia, and Urania.

Order of the Inca Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

The Incas formed in 1956 and held their first ball in 1957, but they did not parade until 1975.
Nowadays, it's hard to imagine Mobile Mardi Gras without the group's floats of ancient Incan temples or its distinctive emblem beads and doubloons.
It's said that the Incas were the first to bring the throw cup to Mobile Mardi Gras during the 1983 parade. Now cups are a staple among beads and Moon Pies.

Apollo's Mystic Ladies Mardi Gras Parade

Daphne, AL

Apollo's Mystic Ladies was founded in 2000 as a Daphne Mardi Gras group for ladies. According to the organization's web site, "The first meeting was held at Manci's in July of that same year. The mission was to bring friendship, fellowship, and revelry to the city of Daphne in the true Mardi Gras spirit."
The group's charter number of 100 members was reached in October 2000 at the fourth meeting.

Mobile Mystics Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

The Mobile Mystics, according to the group's web site, was founded in May 1993 with 52 charter members. The group "quickly obtained use of Mardi Gras floats from another organization and made plans to stage (its) first parade" in 1994, according to the web site. But there were problems in getting a permit for that year, so the theme of the group's first ball was "Damn the Permit, Full Speed Ahead."
The Mystics was the first group to hold a ball at the then-new Arthur Outlaw Convention Center, and it remains the Mystics' home for the ball. The first Mystics parade was held in 1995.
The Mobile Mystics is the largest group to parade during the daytime outside of Fat Tuesday. On the parade route, the Mystics have earned the reputation of being heavy throwers. Anyone who walks away from one of their parades without a bagload of goodies just isn't trying.

Mobile Mystical Revelers Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

One of Mobile's newest parading groups is also its most stripped-down. Two members of a much larger, more established mystic society decided they would start a group that existed solely to ride in a parade.

Maids of Mirth Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

One of Mobile's first two women's parading groups, the Maids of Mirth, first paraded in 1950, just days after the Order of Polka Dots broke the gender barrier. Members of the Maids, however, are quick to point out that their organization incorporated first.

Order of Butterfly Maidens Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

The Order of Butterfly Maidens was formed in 2000 by a small group of ladies who had been members of other parading groups.
The idea was to form a parading organization that would stay fairly small, so all of the members would truly get to know one another. Some groups are so large that some members don't even recognize each other.
The OOBM paraded for the first time in 2003, and the organization celebrated its 10th anniversary during its parade of 2011.
The group currently holds its ball at the Fort Whiting Armory, and the emblem, Madame Butterfly, wears a ball gown and beautiful butterfly wings.

Krewe of Marry Mates Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

One thing that has remained fairly consistent about Mobile's mystic societies is that they are either men's groups or ladies' groups.
In 1993, the Krewe of Marry Mates changed all that, creating a society specifically for married couples. At least one other such group followed in the Marry Mates' footsteps, but it has since dropped from the parade lineup.
These days, several groups have both men and women on their floats (and some of the ladies' groups do have male marshals on horseback), but the Marry Mates remain the only group specifically for married couples to ride on the floats together.

Knights of Ecor Rouge Mardi Gras Parade

Fairhope, AL

As Mardi Gras historian Emily Hearin recounted the tale, the Knights of Ecor Rouge began as the brainstorm of several Eastern Shore friends while they were on "a spirited sailing vacation in the Grenadine Islands in December 1983."
"Ecor Rouge" is French for "Red Cliff" and is a specific reference to a triangular shaped bluff between Daphne and Fly Creek in Montrose.
 Incorporated in April 1984, the organization numbered 150 by the time of its first parade in February 1985, according to Hearin.
KOER's motto is "Chevaliers a se Rappeler," which means, "Knights to Remember" in French. That was the theme of the organization's first parade and ball.

Neptune's Daughters Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

The first ball was held in 1996, and the first parade was in 1997. Neptune's Daughters has grown from a charter membership of 21 to more than 300 members in less than two decades.
The group's emblem is a mermaid, and its logo depicts Neptune flanked by two mermaids. The Neptune's Daughters colors are teal, white, and green.

OOI Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

A ladies' organization, the OOI was formed in 2008, held its first ball in 2009, and staged its first parade in 2010 with an impressive nine floats.
As so often happens, OOI was formed after a number of friends in one of the established groups decided to splinter off. From there, membership grew by leaps and bounds.
The founders chose to name their group after the Egyptian goddess of love and motherhood. A quote at the end of the OOI oath is "Enter as strangers, leave as friends."

Order of Venus Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

OOV is one of the newer ladies' groups, founded on March 19, 2000. It started with "only a few members," according to the group, but grew quickly.
By OOV's 10th anniversary, it was 168 members strong. These ladies are known as big throwers, sometimes chucking huge stuffed animals.

Order of Many Faces

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

There's no doubt Joe Cain earned his place in Mobile Mardi Gras history, and the day dedicated to his festive flavor. The streets and inner sanctums of mystic society are peppered with tributes to past Carnival creatives, because in the Azalea City, you often have to look back to look forward.
But there are few if any walls festooned with images of a stone-faced man posing in drag as Queen Elizabeth or Scarlett O'Hara, and fewer still have access to memories of that same man dressed as Adolf Hitler, fiercely thrusting a "seig heil" at an angry crowd along St. Emanuel Street in downtown Mobile.
But all those things happened courtesy of Louis Diemert – known throughout the city as the "Man of Many Faces" – and his elaborate caricatures. And now his descendants – eight great-grandchildren in all – have formed Mardi Gras' newest crewe for 2016: the Order of Many Faces.

Order of LaShe Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

The Order of LaShe's, obviously a ladies' group, was founded in 1989 and held its first ball in 1990. The theme of that ball, according to Mardi Gras historian Emily Hearin, was "Angels Ready to Party," and it was held at the Elks Club on Dauphin Island Parkway.
The members of the LaShe's chose as their emblem The Broadway Show Girl in top hat and tails. Revelers can still see that figure depicted at the front of the group's emblem float.

Mystic Stripers Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

As Mardi Gras historian Emily Hearin wrote it: "On the evening of the 1939 Mardi Gras celebration, a merry group of six friends, along with their wives and dates, left the Tea Dance at the Elk's Lodge ... and decided it was too early to abandon Mardi Gras for the Lenten season.
"One of the group was a part owner of the Imperial Laundry. He suggested they make use of some convict suits from the Atmore Prison Farm that had just been washed and cleaned. There were no hats or masks with the suits, so they purchased Chinese coolie hats and masks from a street vendor and proceded to parade on foot ..."
That little group led to the formation in 1940 of the Mystic Stripers Society - a reference to the prison stripes they wore a year earlier. The group first paraded in 1948 with an emblem portraying two striped animals, a zebra and a tiger.

Crewe of Columbus Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

The first thing you notice about the Crewe of Columbus is the spelling of the name. It's the only group on the Gulf Coast that uses "Crewe" instead of "Krewe." When the group was founded in 1921 (1922, the year of its first parade is used as its beginning date), it was the Krewe of Columbus, and it was only open to members of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic men's organization.

After several years, however, membership was opened to others, and in 1937, the Krewe was reorganized and re-emerged as the Crewe. The main reason for the spelling change was so the initials of the Mardi Gras organization would not be confused with the Knights of Columbus.

Mystical Order of Mirams Parade

24131 Perdido Beach Blvd., Orange Beach, AL 36561

The Mystical Order of Mirams is a women's organization based in Orange Beach with members from all over Baldwin County, as well as Mobile, Birmingham, and even Atlanta.

Started in 2006, the founding members of the Mirams, according to the group's web site, "wanted to start a women's krewe that would be able to parade and ball in a HUGE style."

The group puts on the only women's nighttime parade on Pleasure Island.

"We love our community," the Mirams' web site says, "and strive to give back as much as possible. With every event we host, we give generous donations to a charity that we choose. We love to keep our donations local when we can."

Maids of Jubilee Mardi Gras Parade


The Maids of Jubilee, in Fairhope, was the first ladies' parading group to form in the Eastern Shore region of south Alabama.
Since the organization's founding in 1985, it has grown immensely, boasting more than 400 members these days. In most ladies' groups, there are male marshals on horseback or no marshals at all. The Maids of Jubilee, however, has female marshals on horseback.
In the Mobile area, by the way, jubilee does not mean "a special anniversary." No, around here, a jubilee is an infrequent phenomenon that occurs when the waters and the winds are just right, and all the fishes in the shallows are rendered almost comatose. Word gets out quickly, and folks come and simply scoop up all the fish they want.

Foley Mardi Gras Parade

Roosevelt Ave, Foley, AL

The Foley parade is not city-sponsored, and it's not the production of any one group. It's more a loose confederation of folks in this south Baldwin County town who want to make sure they have their own Mardi Gras down there.

"It's really open to everybody in this area," said organizer Paul Adams. "We have a lot of businesses that participate, as well as just groups of people."

Floats, trucks, antique cars, walking groups, just about anything you've seen in a parade before can be found in Foley. Usually, this parade has more than 25 units, and organizers stress the family friendliness of the whole thing.

Floral Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

The streets of downtown Mobile are filled with the sights and sounds of live marching bands, brilliant-colored floats and of course teeming crowds of parade goers.

Knights of Mobile Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

The Knights of Mobile was formed in April 1997, founded by "a small group of revelers who brought almost 150 collective years of Mardi Gras experience to the table with the desire to return to the smaller society and ball philosophy," according to the KOM.
The group "is based on the theme of the royal order of King George III (also referred to in history as the Mad King), who ruled over Great Britain from 1760-1820."

Mobile Mystical Ladies Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

The Mobile Mystical Ladies formed in 1997 after 13 friends, who belonged to another parading group, decided to splinter off and form their own.
A couple of years ago, the members of the Mystical Ladies decided to change parading dates, going for a daytime run, rather than nighttime, leaving the Order of Venus with its own night.

Order of Angels Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

The Order of Angels is a different kind of parading group. Two women, who were members of a different organization, were sitting at the kitchen table talking about what they did and did not like about Mardi Gras. "We love to ride," one of the women explained, "but the balls and the partying was not our cup of tea."
So they started their own organization in 2002 in order to parade, but they hold a reception, not a ball, for each member plus one guest only. Alcohol is not banned at the reception, but it's not provided.
Any money left over from dues is donated to charity, and every member is required to take part in at least two charity functions a year. Sometimes the Angels perform charity work as a group.

Krewe of Mullet Mates Mardi Gras Parade

Fairhope, AL

While the Krewe of Mullet Mates is technically a Fairhope group, it does not follow the downtown Fairhope parade route. Instead, it hugs Bon Secour Bay on Baldwin County Highway 1.
The group was formed as a more laid-back parading organization for the folks in the southwest end of Baldwin County. "We are very low-key, and we have very few rules," according to the president.

The Mystic Revelers Mardi Gras Parade

Bay Minette, AL

The Mystic Revelers brought its first Mardi Gras parade to northern Baldwin County in 2005.
"The people in Bay Minette appreciate it," the founding member said. "The city has backed us, and the fire department and police department have been real good to us."

Officially, the Revelers is a men's group of about 50 members, but like most men's groups, "We couldn't do any of this without our wives," the founding member said. "The ladies do so many things for us that make the parade and the ball possible."

Mystics of Pleasure Mardi Gras Parade

24281 Perdido Beach Blvd, Orange Beach, AL 36561

According to the written history of the Mystics of Pleasure, "while overlooking the Marina on Cotton Bayou and watching the sun set on a glorious April evening, a group of men planned what was to become ... Pleasure Island's very first nighttime Mardi Gras parading society."
By Carnival of 2001, the Mystics of Pleasure held its first ball and Mardi Gras parade in Orange Beach. Unlike parading groups to the west, marshals with the Mystics of Pleasure ride Harley-Davidsons, not horses.
The group also sponsors the Thunder Run boating event every year.

Mystics of Time Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

One of Mobile's most popular parades, the Mystics of Time, comes out on the Saturday before Mardi Gras and unleashes smoke-breathing dragons on the streets of the city.
The MOT formed in 1948 and first paraded the next year. As the story goes, a group of friends, while playing their regular poker game, started discussing forming a new Mardi Gras group. One day, in the old Azalea Grill, that group bumped into a group of men who were members of another parading organization but were disenchanted with that organization. Together, they formed the MOT.

Shadow Barons Mardi Gras Parade

Daphne, AL

The Shadow Barons was founded in the summer of 1999 after the idea was put in motion "in the dugout of a men's softball game," according to the group's web site.The first Shadow Barons parade was held in Daphne in 2002, and since then, the group has been working hard to move from float-renting status to an organization that parades with its own floats. In 2009, The Shadow Barons completed construction of its own 12,000-sqare-foot float barn, and float production has gone from one in 2010 to three in 2011 to seven in 2012 to a full complement of 10 this year.The group got its name from Louis Guillaume Laland Marie Hiacinthe Arnould, also known as Baron de Feriet. A career officer in Napolean's military in the New World, the baron retired to a large estate in what is now Montrose, in Baldwin County. The group has taken great delight in composing a fictional tale of the ghost of the baron.

King Elexis I Motorcade

Government Stree, Mobile, AL 36602

Route E

Loyal Order of the Firetruck Mardi Gras Parade

Daphne, AL

Founded in 1996, the Loyal Order of the Fire Truck began almost by accident. A Daphne resident, who was a member of Mardi Gras groups in Mobile and Baldwin counties, bought a 1950 Mack fire truck from the Bon Secour Volunteer Fire Department.
"Of course I bought it. Who wouldn't want an old fire truck?" the group's founder asked. He drove the truck in a few Baldwin parades, then decided he would build a parade around it.
"We were determined to be organized about the whole thing," he said, "and it was disorganized from the get-go."
The group parades in Daphne on Joe Cain Day. Out of respect for the Joe Cain Procession, the LOFT begins its parade one minute earlier, at 2:29 p.m.
In the spirit of Joe Cain Day, LOFT is a true peoples parade with homemade floats and decorated vehicles of all kinds. Membership has few requirements: If you show up and parade, the founder said, you're in.

Joe Cain Mardi Gras Procession

Dauphin Street, Mobile , AL 36602

According to newspaper accounts of the time located by Mobile Mask, Joe Cain and the Lost Cause Minstrels first rode through Mobile on the afternoon of Mardi Gras Day 1868. He was first not by two years, he was first by several hours, just ahead of the first Order of Myths parade, the theme of which was Thomas Moore’s “Lalla Rookh.”
Obviously the best source on this would be Joe himself. There is evidence he attempted to publish a memoir, but that apparently never happened. One of his descendants has been searching for it for years to no avail.
However, the History Museum of Mobile has in its files a small newspaper clipping titled “Myths and Mardi Gras” that was penned, it says at the bottom, by Joseph S. Cain. The date and name of the newspaper are missing, but an educated guess would place it in the Mobile Daily Tribune close to the turn of the 20th century.

Le Krewe de Bienville Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

According to Le Krewe de Bienville's web site, the organization was founded in 1961 as Mobile's "only civic Mardi Gras organization ... chartered for the purpose of promoting Mobile as the birthplace of Mardi Gras in the United States."
"To this end, members of the krewe travel to festivals throughout the U.S. to tell the story of Mobile's Mardi Gras and invite visitors to our Carnival."
The krewe, created by downtown hotel owners and then-Mayor Joe Langan, was started as a non-parading organization, and its ball was often referred to as the out-of-towners' ball. The idea was that folks visiting from out-of-town could never attend a Mardi Gras ball because they couldn't score an invitation. Attending the ball put on by Le Krewe de Bienville, however, requires only the purchase of a ticket.

Arrival of King Felix III

Government Street, Mobile, AL 36602

This is Mobile Carnival Association's gift to the community. There's lots of royalty association with 60-plus Mardi Gras organizations in Mobile, but only two groups stage public coronations - Mobile Carnival Association and the Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association.
The coronation is open to the public, and estimated the crowds at about 2,500. Most of the guests wear formal attire as they sit in the stands watching the events unfold.

Floral Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

In 1928, Alfred Staples, longtime president of the Mobile Carnival Association, asked Sidney Simon to plan a parade for the Saturday afternoon before Fat Tuesday to keep people - especially out-of-towners - downtown for the entire weekend.

The Flower Parade, as it was first called, has always been for children. The MCA Juvenile Court, including a King and Queen, are among the float riders.

The Floral Parade is the only one that's scheduled to run twice, first on that Saturday before Mardi Gras, and again on Lundi Gras, along with the King Felix III parade.

MLK Business and Civic Organization Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

The MLK Business and Civic Organization sponsors a children's parade it calls the Krewe of the Avenue.
Children from 6 years old to college age participate, and the parade usually has 36 units - that's the limit allowed by the police department for any parade.
The daytime children's parade is usually held on Lundi Gras, the day before Fat Tuesday.

MLK Monday Mystics Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

Formed in 2003, the MLK Monday Mystics was a coming together of four historically black social and civic groups that had one goal in mind: to bring Mardi Gras back to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, "like it used to be," said one of the founders.
The first parade was held in 2004, and it included seven floats. In subsequent parades, the float count went to nine, then 11, then 15, then up to 20.
The MLK Monday Mystics' motto is "Back in stride down the avenue," and it includes a number of smaller groups, such as the Monday Nighters Sports Club Incorporated, the Down the Bay Boys, the Insatiable Ladies, and the Progressive Black Firefighters.

Northside Merchants Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

The Northside Merchants Association forms the last of the trio of parades that traverse Mobile's Route D on Lundi Gras, the day before Mardi Gras.
The MLK Business and Civic Organization has the first parade, which is primarily for children. The second, the MLK Monday Mystics, is made up of smaller adult Mardi Gras and social orgnanizations.
The third, obviously, is a parade that offers MLK-area businesses the chance to participate.
Robert Battles, coordinator of the Northside Merchants parade, said it has been going on since 1989. When it first started, he said, "We didn't need but one police motorbike and one police car."
Since then, the whole thing has grown quite a bit. "We probably throw more candy than any other parade," Battles said.

Order of Mystic Magnolias Mardi Gras Parade

Fairhope, AL

In April 1993, a group of women met at Gambino's Restaurant in Fairhope and created the Order of Mystic Magnolias, according to the group's history. With a lot of hard work and help from other organizations, the OOMM was able to hold a parade in 1994.
Unlike most ladies' groups, the Mystic Magnolias have female marshals on horseback.
The group has grown to more than 300 members, and most of those founding members still ride in the parade. The OOMM owns its floats, which is a feat for such a young organization.

Infant Mystics Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

According to the Infant Mystics' own history, published on the occasion of its centennial, the group was formed out of the bankrupt ashes of a previous Mardi Gras organization, known only as H.S.S.
H.S.S. was organized in 1870 and staged parades that year, as well as 1871, 1872, and 1873. Following the 1873 ball, however, the group was $1,500 in debt and disbanded, according to the IM history.
Then, an ardent nucleus of its members met to reorganize and formed the Infant Mystics, adopting a constitution on March 27, 1873. The group's first parade was held February 17, 1874, and the theme was "The Fair Maid of Perth." After the parade, "Joe Cain was thanked for the use of his flats and for his voluntary aid in forming and conducting their procession," according to the IM history.

Order of Doves Mardi Gras Parade

Mobile, AL

The Order of Doves is a new men’s mystic society founded in 2012, holding its first ball on Lundi Gras 2013 at Bishop State.
On the other hand, according to the OOD vice president, the group is a reboot of Mobile’s very first African-American Mardi Gras mystic society, founded in 1894.

Gulf Shores Mardi Gras Parade

Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Back in 1978, some folks in Gulf Shores "decided that it was awfully quiet down here on Mardi Gras," according Judy Kaiser. So they got in their cars and put on something of a parade on Fat Tuesday. "It was pretty simple back then," Kaiser said, "but there's been a parade every year since then. It's the oldest one in Baldwin County that I know anything about." Before long, the Gulf Shores Mardi Gras Association formed for the sole purpose of coordinating the annual parade. Kaiser and a handful of volunteers take care of all of the details. These days, the Gulf Shores parade is a far cry from that first simple caravan of cars. Nearly any group that wants to participate can, and the parade is now up in the neighborhood of 70 units that travel south on Alabama 59 to East Beach Boulevard. Groups from Pensacola to Foley are in the parade, Kaiser said. And there's usually plenty of throws. "I tell the groups that they have to make a statement with their throws," Kaiser said. "Don't leave them wanting more."

Order of Athena Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

Organized on Aug. 27, 1954, at the home of one of its founding members, the Order of Athena is the only ladies' group that parades in Mobile on Fat Tuesday.
Athena's first parade was held in 1955, and it included three floats depicting the life of the Greek goddess Athena.
These days, the group has a membership of more than 125, and every Mardi Gras morning, they have have the honor of kicking off the city's daylong festivities. Anyone who gets to Church Street extra early that day can see Athena's foot parade to the waiting floats in front of the Civic Center.

Knights of Revelry Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

Organized in 1874 and staging its first parade on Fat Tuesday of 1875, the Knights of Revelry is Mobile's third-oldest Mardi Gras parading group. From the start, KOR has paraded during the day on Fat Tuesday.
Like the Order of Myths, the Knights of Revelry has an emblem float that harkens back to the beginning, and it, too, includes a member playing the role of Folly, who swings a mace made of inflated cow (not pig, like OOM) bladders.
There's a distinct difference between the bladder balloons swung by the two groups: OOM's are painted gold; KOR's are painted silver.
In the earliest days, according to the group's written history, the KOR emblem float had Folly dancing on a golden goblet between two crescent moons, one happy, one sad. In 1912, a crown formed the base of a silver cup, the handles of which were the faces of comedy and tragedy. In later years, the cup became a champagne glass, as it is today.
And as anyone who has seen it can tell you, Folly vigorously beats the side of that champagne glass with his cow bladders. The loud wallops, which can be heard above the din of the crowd, are meant to chase away evil.

Comic Cowboys Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

There's nothing fancy or pretty about them, but the Comic Cowboys are as much a Mobile Mardi Gras icon as Folly and Death or Cain's Merry Widows.
The Cowboys' parade is about as stripped-down as they get. First, the group's queen, Queen Little Eva, is always a guy in a dress. It's said that the group simply picks the burliest member it can find to be the queen that year.
Beyond the queen's float, there is a series of rather plain wagons or trailers (it's hard to call them floats), each with two plywood billboards, one at the front, one at the back. On each side of each billboard is painted a joke or humorous observation about some event in the news or sports or entertainment, local or national. It's all done, the group points out, according to the longstanding motto, "Without Malice."
 All along the parade route, revelers stop, look up, read, then either laugh or groan.

Orange Beach Mardi Gras Parade

24131 Perdido Beach Blvd., Orange Beach, AL 36561

The Orange Beach Parade started way back when as a loose confederation of groups, large and small, that wanted to parade by the beach.
About 10 years ago, the city of Orange Beach stepped in and took over the planning of the parade. It's still open to participation by just about anybody, even groups from outside of Orange Beach.
The Mystical Maids of Miram and the Mystics of Pleasure contribute to the parade, but so do groups from Foley to Perdido Key. Even groups that parade in Gulf Shores earlier in the day move up the road to be in the Orange Beach procession.
Typically, these days, there's about 55 units in the Fat Tuesday afternoon parade, and about 30,000 people gather along the two-mile stretch of Perdido Beach Boulevard to stand in the rain of throws.

MAMGA Mammoth Parade

Mobile, AL

According to the online Encyclopedia of Alabama, Mobile's African American community had no mystic societies or Carnival balls of its own until the Order of Doves was established in 1894. The OOD held its first ball in the Gilmer Rifles Armory and continued to host balls until 1914.
The first African American parading society, the Knights of May Zulu, organized by float-builder A.S. May in 1938, paraded along Davis Avenue (now Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue) until 1952.
The Colored Carnival Association was founded in 1938, held its first parade in 1939 and presented its first royal court in 1940, according to the Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association's written history.
Alex Herman was the first king, and Aliene Jenkins Howard was the queen. As an homage to Herman, the MAMGA king is always referred to as King Elexis I.
The Colored Carnival Association became the Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association, or MAMGA, in the 1970s.

Order of Myths Mardi Gras Parade

Dauphin Street, Mobile, AL 36602

Founded in 1867 and putting on its first parade in 1868, the Order of Myths was Mobile's first and is the oldest continuous Mardi Gras parading group.

The OOM always presents the last Mobile parade on Mardi Gras Day, closing the day with a procession that always nods back to the old days.

From the beginning, the Order of Myths has always had the same emblem float, a simple affair with a broken column in the middle. Often referred to as the broken column of life, there has been much discussion over the years as to its meaning, including the idea that it's a reference to the defeated post-war South.
Around the column, a member of the group dressed as Death is chased by another member dressed as Folly. As they chase round and round, Folly beats on death with a bunch of inflated pig bladders painted gold and tied to a piece of broomstick.

Yes, they do still use pig bladders, and former Follies have reported that though largely dried by parade day, the gold balloons can have a powerful smell. The float is still pulled by mules and illuminated by flambeaux.
The lesson to be taken away from the float is that while Death always beats us eventually, on one day of the year - Mardi Gras - Folly beats Death.