Festival Time on the Gulf Coast

This weekend kicks off the annual deluge of festivals, most of which focus on food, that happen along the Gulf Coast each Spring.  I love this time of year, I really do.

First up is the 20th Annual American Cancer Society Chili Cook-Off on March 9th, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. in Bienville Square, downtown Mobile.  I have competed and simply gorged at this festival a number of times and it’s popularity continues to grow.

8th Annual BBQ Championship and Hog Wild Festival at the Fair Grounds kicks off Mar 13th, 2009-Mar 15th, 2009.  Lots of BBQ’d pig, need I say more?  Join over 70 local and national competitors as they compete for big money while raising a little for the good folks at United Cerebral Palsy of Mobile.

Mobile’s 8th Annual Luck of the Irish Celebration is on Mar 14th, 2009.  Downtown Mobile will feature fun for the whole family.  First a 5k run, then an Irish Stew and Corned Beef and Cabbage Cook-off in Bienville Square and finally a St. Patty’s Parade. There will be live music and Irish dancers throughout the day and a large children’s area.  This event benefits the Exchange Club Family Center for Child Abuse Prevention in Mobile.

The month closes out with the The Festival of Flowers (March 25 – 29th) which is acknowledged as the premier flower and garden event of the greater Gulf Coast.  Of particular interest for foodie’s is the Designer Tablescapes – fun and fancy table settings are a perennial favorite of Festival visitors.  Tablescapes will again feature an all-new collection of exquisite combinations of table settings, art, linens, glassware and flowers.  The event will be held on the grounds of Providence Hospital in West Mobile.

There is plenty to do across the bay as well highlighted by the 57th Annual Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival the weekend of March 20 – 22.  In addition to artwork from roughly 250 exhibitors, live local entertainment will be going on throughout the three-day event and classic festival foods will be served up. It all takes place on the streets of beautiful downtown Fairhope, Alabama. Festival hours are 10 am – 5 pm daily and there is no admission charge.  This thing is huge!

Make a double header out of the that third weekend with a side stop at the Barbecue and Blues Cook-off at Heritage Park in nearby Foley on the 21st.  Categories include People’s Choice (Baldwin’s Best Q), Best Sauce, Best Ribs, Best Shoulder and Anything “Butt.”  The event is to raise moeny for South Baldwin Chamber Foundation.

 March 28 plays host to the Elberta German Sausage Festival (Spring edition).  As usual there will be plenty of German sausage & sauerkraut, plus continuous entertainment for adults and children, and 250 arts & crafts booths. 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. There will be baked goods as well as arts & crafts for sale at the festival. The sausage festival is a town fund-raiser, spearheaded by Elberta’s Volunteer Fire Department in 1978, whose proceeds are used for improving not only the fire department, but the town as well.

I think I need a nap.

~ by Stuart Reb Donald on March 2, 2009.

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