The Top 5 Events to Watch in May is presented by Chuck's Fish and Dharma Blue. A note from their founder, Charles Morgan, is at the end of this article!

The saying “April Showers bring May Flowers” comes from the United Kingdom, and although spring flowers are already blooming throughout the Scenic 98 Coastal area, May still brings a lot of change with it for our community. Students will soon be free for the summer, traffic from the weekly beach migration is ramping up, and rising temperatures remind us to take advantage of the weather before the dog days of summer commence.

While we did not include the inaugural Scenic 98 Coastal Summer Splash Wine Dinner: South Meets South on May 30th in the Top 5, don’t forget to save the date. We have partnered with Sarah Clark, owner /operator of Bay Gourmet, located at Crown Hall, a beautiful event space within Mobile’s Entertainment District. Sarah and her Executive Chef, Jayme Richberg are creating a special menu showcasing intersections of South African and Southern Cuisine.  

Tickets are Available Now! Be sure to stay tuned to the newsletter for more details on the event, our participating partners and food / drink offerings in the coming weeks.

Don’t forget to check out the Tidbits and Best Bets section of the newsletter every Wednesday morning for a full breakdown of the weekend's events throughout the Scenic 98 Coastal area.

Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival: May 2 – 4

Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival, OWA Parks & Resort, Foley, AL

Named the 2021 Event of the Year by the Alabama Department of Tourism, the Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival is the spot for high-flying adventure and family fun. Enjoy the entertainment, arts and crafts displays, and more at the festival site daily. Balloon flights, glows and tethered rides (weather permitting) add to the fun at dawn and dusk. Admission is FREE!

Gulf Coast Classic Fly Fishing Festival: May 3 – 4

Gulf Coast Classic Fly Fishing Festival, Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores, AL

The 2nd Annual Gulf Coast Classic fly-fishing festival at the Learning Campus of Gulf State Park will feature seminars on locations, tactics, species, conservation programs, fly tying as well as the Mixed Bag Challenge, which is free with Classic registration. Guide services, fly tackle suppliers, two fly fishing publications, local & regional artists as well as several fly fishing & conservation organizations from across the region will feature exhibits. Many of the region’s top fly tyers will also be on hand demonstrating their favorite patterns.

Registration is ongoing, Click Here to find out more

Fairhope Rotary 2024 Steak Cookoff: May 11

Fairhope Rotary 2024 Steak Cookoff, North Bancroft Street, Fairhope, AL

The 2024 Fairhope Rotary Steak Cookoff, also known as “Fairhope’s Premier Street Party!”, will see 34 Cook Teams compete for a variety of awards including the People’s Choice Awards selected by the votes of the projected 3,000+ in attendance. Booth by booth, teams will be grilling up Piggly Wiggly steaks for you to sample and enjoy along with live music and a fantastic family atmosphere. Kids 12 and under get in free!

Passes are still available, Click Here to find out more.

Feeding the Gulf Coast Annual Chef Challenge: May 16

Feeding the Gulf Coast Annual Chef Challenge, Mobile Convention Center, Mobile, AL

The 24th Annual Chef Challenge, Feeding the Gulf Coast's annual fundraiser, is sponsored by MCG Workforce Solutions. The event brings together some of our area's most celebrated chefs and restaurants for an evening of superb food and drink, live entertainment by Roman Street, and a vast silent auction -- all in the name of ending hunger along the central Gulf Coast.

Guests must be 21+. Tickets and Reserved Tables Available, Click Here to find out more.

Hangout Music Festival: May 17 – 19

Hangout Music Festival, Gulf Shores, AL

After a two-year hiatus, the Hangout Music Festival returned to the white sand beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama in 2022. The first festival took place in May 2010 with under 15,000 daily attendees and quickly grew, now capped at 40,000 daily tickets. In addition to the music, Guests can also enjoy beach volleyball, a roller disco, a Ferris wheel, a tropical spa, and more fun activities. Dozens of restaurants will be serving up good eats and refreshing drinks available all three days.

A variety of ticket packages are still available, Click Here to find out more.

Note From Charles Morgan of Chuck's Fish, Dharma Blue, Harbor Docks & More:

I’m in a group that will soon have six restaurants in Alabama. There are some outstanding bright spots in the state. Birmingham has developed into a city known for its great restaurants in the 40 years since Frank Stitt’s Highlands Bar & Grill opened. Huntsville has been on a roll for over two decades. Montgomery, through the efforts of Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative, has ironically become the hub of civil rights tourism in the state. But Mobile and Tuscaloosa have provided templates on how cities can exceed all expectations.

Mobile - through the efforts of David Bronner, Sen. Richard Shelby, Mayor Stimpson, and now Jo Bonner - has been drastically revitalized. The new airport, the riverfront development, the growth of the Port of Mobile, and the plans for the University of South Alabama, are redefining what Mobile can be.

A recent study found that over 50% of graduating seniors would stay in Tuscaloosa if they could land a job. Shelby supported the school with government funds. Coach Saban captured the nation’s imagination with unprecedented success on the football field. Walt Maddox has led the city in exemplary fashion for five terms as Mayor.

Municipalities, and their elected officials, face a different set of issues than state and federally elected politicians. Arguments over reproductive rights, foreign policy, and military issues are rarely the concern of city leaders. Job growth and training, safe streets, vibrant communities, great schools, parks, and recreation centers are the issues that cities need to address.

Across the way in Pensacola, the redevelopment of downtown has been remarkable. The announcement that America’s Magic has a 10-year commitment to its home port there will bring a whole new dynamic to the city. Entrepreneurs are popping up throughout the Scenic 98 Coastal communities, and are excited to be part of it.

May 1, 2024
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