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The Gulf Coast Welcomes Spring With Food, Wine, Music, and Fun

by S. Lynne on March 31st, 2014

The Seabreeze Jazz Festival is coming to PCB's Pier Park April 23-27.

With a lineup of events that includes music festivals and food festivals, plus the iconic Flora-Bama’s annual Mullet Toss, folks along the Gulf Coast are gearing up to have fun this spring. Following are some highlights of what’s happening in the next few weeks.

April 5 and 6, Pensacola Beach, 31st annual Pensacola Jazz Fest, 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. both days, Seville Square. Presented by the Jazz Society of Pensacola, the festival celebrates jazz, gospel, and blues. Other activities include an arts and crafts exhibition and hands-on entertainment for the kids. Admission is free. For details, visit

April 23-27, Panama City Beach, 16th annual Seabreeze Jazz Festival, Pier Park. Named one of the top ten jazz festivals in the USA by JazzIZ magazine, the festival features both local talent and nationally and internationally known stars. Among the festival highlights are a dinner cruise on Wednesday, April 23, featuring Brian Culbertson, and a midday cruise the following day with Eric Darius. Both cruises, aboard the luxury yacht Solaris, depart from Lighthouse Marina in Panama City Beach. Hours for the dinner cruise are 7 to 10 p.m., with the boat boarding at 6:30 p.m. The Thursday cruise runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the boat boarding at 10:30 a.m. Tickets are available online at or by phone at 800-595-4849.

April 24-27, Destin, South Walton Beaches Wine and Food Festival, Grand Boulevard at Sandestin. The four-day event includes wine and food pairings, wine tastings (more than 800 wines from around the world), craft beer and spirits tastings and food pairings, and live entertainment. Special guests include celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse. On Saturday and Sunday, Nashville’s top songwriters will perform their hit songs as part of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association’s Endless Summer Songwriters Series. Tickets, priced from $40 to $150, are available at

April 25-27, Orange Beach/Perdido Key, annual Flora-Bama Mullet Toss — officially known as “The Interstate Mullet Toss and Gulf Coast’s Greatest Beach Party,” on the beach outside the Flora-Bama Lounge. One of the iconic roadhouse’s most popular events, the Mullet Toss annually raises around $20,000 for local youth charities. It features daily competitions in which participants take turns throwing a frozen mullet across the state line from Alabama into Florida. Participants compete in groups based on age and gender, and prizes are awarded in each group for the longest tosses. The fun starts at noon on Friday and at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The cost to toss a mullet is $15. Related events include the Mullet Man Triathlon, on Saturday, April 19, and the Mullet Swing Golf Classic, on Wednesday, April 23. For more information, visit

April 30-May 4, Panama City Beach, 16th annual Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally, various venues around town, including Boardwalk Beach Resort, Club LaVela, Frank Brown Park, Hammerhead Fred’s Island Grill and Bar, Harley-Davidson of Panama City Beach, Sharky’s Beachfront Restaurant and Tiki Bar, the Shoppes at Edgewater, and Wicked Wheel Bar and Grill. Events include the Kick-Start party, Miss and Ms. Thunder Beach pageants, Best of Thunder Beach Custom Bike Show, the Official Thunder Beach Bike Parade, and the Official Thunder Beach Poker Runs. For details, check out

May 9-11, Orange Beach LA Gumbo Festival, The Wharf. It’s LA (Louisiana) versus L.A. (Lower Alabama) gumbo as chefs compete to see whose version is the best. In addition to the gumbo cook-off, events include live entertainment, more food, arts and crafts, and cooking up the world’s largest pot of gumbo. To learn more, call 251-224-1000 or visit

May 16-18, Gulf Shores, Hangout 2014 Music Fest, on the beach by the Hangout restaurant. This year’s headliners for what has become one of the most popular music festivals in the country include The Black Keys, The Killers, Outkast, and Jack Johnson. Other artists include Queens of the Stone Age, Pretty Lights, Avett Brothers, Modest Mouse, and The Flaming Lips. Tickets are available at The kick-off party, on May 15, requires a separate ticket.

For places to stay, restaurants, and other things to do while you’re at the beach, visit and click on our links.

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