Champagne in Shorts
Head to The Wharf in Orange Beach for events to remember along Alabama's Gulf Coast
By Amy Delcambre
As spring blossoms and the burgeoning summer sun’s warming rays radiate toward Alabama, The Wharf at Orange Beach comes alive with bustling activity and exciting events. There’s something intoxicating about being able to slip into open-toed shoes and linen shorts that instantly transforms you into one of those languid vacationers you envy year-round. Meandering past the Ferris wheel and the palm-lined shops and into the luxurious, yacht-filled marina, your senses will be massaged by the scent of expertly seasoned seafood, the sound of affable alfresco diners and the sight of glistening water gently lapping the dock. The Wharf at Orange Beach offers a unique yet unpretentious to-do list on Alabama’s Gulf Coast.
Spring events at The Wharf are like The Wharf itself: a potent cocktail of relaxation and adventure. The 5th Annual Bama Coast Cruise (April 25–26) is a land cruise worth taking. Like any custom car show worth its (sea)salt, Bama Coast Cruise is free for spectators. Couples and car-lovers stroll among the hot rods parked along The Wharf’s main drag and fantasize about enjoying the view from Perdido Pass in one. If vintage chrome doesn’t get your motor running, you can always duck into one of the nearby shops for something more your speed.
Another satisfying way to enjoy The Wharf is by participating as a competitor or a participant “judge” (there is a People’s Choice award, after all) at The L.A. Gumbo Festival (May 8–11). L.A. stands for Lower Alabama to Alabamians and of course LA’s the abbreviation for Louisiana. For the benefit of your taste buds (and charitable organizations) professional chefs from both states come together for a friendly competition of L.A. vs LA bragging rights and to make the World’s Largest Pot of Gumbo. Seasoned with local music and art, the festival is its own “gumbo” of sumptuous cuisine, humanity and creativity.
Craving a little adventure to go along with the good-natured competition? The Orange Beach Billfish Classic is a high-profile regional fishing tournament that generously donates profits to The Billfish Foundation and the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA). Held at The Wharf Marina Entertainment Complex (May 14–18), the Gulf Coast Triple Crown competition provides plenty of entertainment for spectators while giving adrenaline-seeking participants the thrilling opportunity to reel in the big one for generous cash prizes and—of course—the best fish story ever.
Tournament observers staying at The Wharf’s opulent-yet-cozy Condos have emperor-worthy balcony views of the prize catch weigh-ins along with other perks such as unlimited access to The Oasis, an aquatic paradise featuring a lazy river. Also on site, The Amphitheater at the Wharf invites visitors to enjoy outdoor concerts by some of the biggest acts in popular music. Some of the headliners coming to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach as part of the destination's Concerts at the Coast include acts that are part of the C-Spire Wireless Concert Series at The Wharf with Darius Rucker, Foreigner, Zac Brown Band, Goo Goo Dolls, Daughtry and Plain White T’s.
Whether you arrive by land or by sea, expect casual luxury, adventure and entertainment at The Wharf at Orange Beach this spring. Order or view our Vacation Guide online to see what else is in store for your Gulf Shores and Orange Beach getaway.