The top craft fair in the nation is the National Shrimp Festival, which will celebrate its 35th year with 4 days of fun, food and shopping, from October 12 to October 15, 2006. This festival takes place at the Public Beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama, located at the intersection of highways 59 and 182. The National Shrimp Festival offers its visitors arts and crafts, music, special events and of course food, namely shrimp or seafood dishes.
Arts and craft vendors at the National Shrimp Festival offer many types of items for viewing and sale. The over 200,000 visitors will have the opportunity to purchase oil paintings, jewelry, acrylic painting, mixed crafts, glass, drawings and graphics, pottery, photography, sculpture, wood, mixed acrylic on wood, pen and ink drawings and fiber crafts. With all these types of arts and crafts, there is surely something for everyone from over 300 vendors.
Music is another big attraction of the National Shrimp Festival. Just about any type of music can be heard live on stage. This includes country, rockabilly, rock and roll, contemporary, oldies, Caribbean, bluegrass, gospel and funk. Visitors looking for this type of entertainment will not be disappointed.
Food is always a big attraction at festivals, and the National Shrimp Festival is no exception. Shrimp, of course, is served anyway possible, along with crab, crawfish, catfish, alligator, chicken, grouper, Amberjack as well as the fixings. This would include slaw, hushpuppies, French fries, onion rings, blooming onions, Jalapeno peppers, baked potatoes, stir-fried vegetables, stir-fried noodles and egg rolls. Desserts are not left out either; here visitors can enjoy apple dumplings, strawberry shortcake, funnel cakes, brownie delights and ice cream. Of course, there are all sorts of drinks from cokes to ice tea to Pina Coladas or frozen Daiquiris.
The National Shrimp Festival also has special events, such as a Children’s Art Village and a Sand Castle Contest. The sand castle contest has divisions broken down by age. These are 5-10, 11-15, 16 to adult and a family division. The winners of each division are awarded with trophies, ribbons and t-shirts.
The National Shrimp Festival has several guidelines as well as local ordinances for vendors, exhibitors and visitors to follow for the safety of everyone involved. These guidelines include no unauthorized vendors or exhibitors, no unauthorized amplification or sound producing devices and no unauthorized signs or written materials. The guidelines also include no blockage or impeding of the walkways, including the use of skateboards. Personal coolers, glass containers and animals are prohibited from the National Shrimp Festival. Soliciting and disorderly conduct will not be tolerated as well.
The Alabama Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce produces the National Shrimp Festival and strives to keep it entertaining and fun for all ages. The festival is open from 10am to 10pm, Thursday through Saturday and 10am to 5pm Sunday, with a shuttle bus service. So, if you are looking for something to do in October, check out the National Shrimp Festival. For more information call 251-968-6904 or visit www.nationalshrimpfestival.com.