Good Eats, Great Deals at 2015 National Shrimp Fest

Get ready for the biggest fall party on the Alabama Gulf Coast: the 44th Annual National Shrimp Festival, to be held Oct. 8 to 11.  Fall is a great time to visit Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and savor the best of what makes our piece of beach paradise.
While fresh, Gulf shrimp is the star of the show at the National Shrimp Festival, there's also a smorgasbord of food offerings such as funnel cakes, chicken-on-a-stick and other concoctions that are temptations for the taste buds and the stomach. This year's event features 50 local and regional vendors along the boardwalk in Gulf Shores. Let your nose guide you to the mouthwatering morsels offered during the daily tastings prepared by local chefs. Sponsors are donating 200 pounds of shrimp each day for the festival; tasting times will be posted outside of the sponsor tent.

Looking for great music? Come on down! The music gets cranked up each day of the festival at 10 a.m. and continues until 10 p.m. every day but Sunday, when it closes at 5 p.m. You can expect more than 80 hours of musical entertainment featuring blues, zydeco, country, southern rock, motown and jazz.

It's an excellent time to be in Gulf Shores for lovers of the outdoors and lovers of art. New this year, Outdoor World features fishing, hunting, boating and other outdoors vendors and activities. Art aficionados can peruse the nearly 200 arts and crafts booths with offerings that include woodworking, pottery, oils and everything in between.

The younger ones can stay busy at the Children's Activity Village brimming with all sorts of supervised fun including arts and crafts, entertainment, games, music and more.

Don't forget to enter the sand sculpture contest on Saturday, Oct. 10 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the west end of the public beach access. Get a team, grab your tools and put your creativity to work. Also on Saturday at the West Stage will be the National Shrimp Festival Singing for Scholarships competition boasting some of Baldwin County's most talented young singers in an “American Idol”-style contest.

Now that you've decided to come for the weekend, you'll need a good deal on accommodations. Be tempted by 25 percent off of stays of three or four nights, a deal that's sure to put a little extra shrimp in your mouth. Other lodging deals too sweet to pass up include a $100 discount on beach house rentals and free nights during the festival.

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