Do you Ballyhoo? We do in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Tomorrow, March 5, 2016, the Ballyhoo Celebration of Art will take place at 225 East 24th Avenue in the Waterway Village district of Gulf Shores. The festival starts at 9:00 a.m. and continues all day. The Poarch Creek Indians will be there to dance, artists from several state will be showing their fine arts and crafts, and, of course, the food will fantastic.
The Poarch band of Creek Indians are the only federally recognized tribe that still exists in the state of Alabama. They weren’t removed from their tribal lands during the terrible “Trail of Tears”, and have lived continuously near Poarch, Alabama. At Ballyhoo, they will be in full Pow Wow regalia, and will perform original tribal dances at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. They encourage festival goers to ask questions and learn the meaning of each tribal dance and what the ceremonial dress symbolizes. If you find yourself in a dancing mood after seeing the Poarch Creek, you can participate in the Ballyhoo dance contest, or just dance along with the live music performed by local artists.
Ballyhoo is put on by the Gulf Coast Arts Alliance. Their mission is the development and promotion of the arts on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, and this festival is a great example of what they do. More than fifty artists from Alabama, as well as several surrounding states, will set up their booths and display their work for all to enjoy. Judges will be on hand, and $2,500 in awards will be given out to the winning artists. There will also be on site art demonstrations, and the children’s hands-on art activity area is always a favorite with the younger crowd. A petting zoo and a trackless train will be part of the fun.
Food is always a big part of the festival, and this year won’t disappoint. Local restaurants will be cooking their favorite seafood specialities, with shrimp, crab, oyster, and gulf fish as the stars. The local Kiwanis Club will have their grill on the grounds, offering hamburgers and hotdogs as an alternative. When you’ve finished eating, head over to see the Ballyhoo Queen crowned.
So, do you Ballyhoo? Admission is free to this day-long festival, so come on out and enjoy. I’ll see you there!