The repeating line in the children’s story of The Three Bears is that certain things like porridge and beds were “just right.”
That’s the way I feel about festivals and celebrations along our coast. (No, I am not a big fan of porridge. Don’t really even know what it is, and have no grand desire to find out.)
What I mean is that the things we celebrate, like seasons, foods, beverages, crafts or historic events, and the way we go about the celebration, with neighbors and friends, but not too many, coming together, is just about right.
I guess that every part of this country celebrates something. Every area, at least once each year, has a party to commemorate some source of local pride. But here along the Gulf Coast, we do this many times each year. And everyone shows up with their best happy attitude and wants to join in. Plus it’s usually never too crowded. If there is a band playing or there’s a booth you want to patronize or you want something to eat and/or drink, you can always get what you want. You can usually get close enough to the stage to enjoy the performance. You can move right up to a booth for food or drink easily. Or you can just sit down on the grass or on the beach and soak up the atmosphere without interference.
No one is excluded. No one is shut out. Everyone from everywhere is welcomed and made to feel right at home. If you are smiling and having a good time, you will be loved by everyone else who came to enjoy the festivities.
Here are a few suggestions for your enjoyment, scattered along the Gulf Coast. These are worth your time and your travel. Let’s begin in the east and then drift towards the west.
Courtesy of tasteofthebeachfl.com
Taste of the Beach
Taste of the Beach has been satisfying festival-goers and wine lovers for a long time. From Nov. 1-3, 2013, the wine will be flowing all along the South Walton County Coast, from Seaside to Sandestin.
What better time of year to be enjoying fine wines at the beach, and what better place than the most pristine sugar-sand beaches anywhere?
Thousands of aficionados will gather for three days of wine tastings, fine food and an auction, all to raise money for a most worthy cause, the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation, which is crucial to assisting children in need throughout the area.
Tickets to all events are now available at tasteofthebeachfl.com. While you are purchasing tickets for the various events, you will also want to make reservations at some of the grand accommodations, including Seaside and Sandestin.
Through Oct. 25, 2013, the Mobile Arts Council is staging a Fall Juried Art Show featuring 42 works of art on display for the first time from 25 artists in the area. Admission is free, and there will be, no doubt, artists about whom you will soon hear great things. Find more information here.
The National Shrimp Festival comes alive in Gulf Shores, Oct. 11-13, 2013. Music, crafts, cooking demonstrations, more than 300 vendors, children’s activities and plenty of great seafood are all celebrated in grand fashion during a perfect time to be right on the white sands along the Gulf of Mexico. Get all the details here.
Courtesy of beauvoir.org
Along the scenic Mississippi Coast, you can return to your youth, or at least revisit the cars and the fashions of that bygone era, with Cruisin’ the Coast. From Oct. 6-13, 2013, classic car enthusiasts from 35 states will roll their perfectly-maintained street machines up and down the boulevard, no doubt with early rock 'n' roll blaring from up front and rear-seat speakers. Designated stops from Ocean Springs to Bay St. Louis give you the chance to view these beauties up close. Find more details here.
Go even further back in time and history at the 27th Annual Fall Muster at Beauvoir Plantation, the historic last home of Jefferson Davis, in Biloxi, Miss. Each day, Oct. 19-20, 2013, Civil War-era life is reproduced, along with battlefield reenactments and demonstrations of the way military life was lived during this era. All branches of the service from both sides of this historic conflict will participate. Get all you need to know here.
In a state that annually stages more than 400 festivals, fall is a particularly fertile time for such activities in Louisiana.
Every Sunday in October, what is probably the toughest prison in America stages what is likely the roughest rodeo you will ever see. The Angola Prison Rodeo is a show you will never forget. These men, paying their debt to society, will perform feats of animal control and human endurance unlike rodeos anywhere else in the world. Read more about the event and check out a video here.
We would be remiss if we did not include the free-form festival of Halloween in every corner of South Louisiana, but mostly in New Orleans. What better setting anywhere in the world than the stately old homes throughout the city and the mystical French Quarter could there be for telling stories and experiencing the “spirits” of the season. Haunted Mansions are all over town and when it’s not Halloween, with all the accompanying theatrics, these return to being just the usual haunted mansions. Throughout the city, tours, scary tableaus, parades, events at Audubon Zoo and the Louisiana Children’s Museum, and Halloween happenings of all sorts come to life. Most of the attractions are open for two weeks prior to Oct. 31. Wear a costume to have the most fun. Google New Orleans Halloween for all the information and websites, or read this article from our sister publication, New Orleans Magazine.
And there you are. The beautiful month of October, when summer begins saying her good-byes, the football season is in full force, and hurricanes are no longer any consideration, is perfect for joining in the neighborly fun. As you can tell, not only is there a lot happening, but the activities are diverse, with each community putting their reputation for friendliness and hospitality on the line.
And for even more reasons not to sit at home, visit these sites for more event info: