For 37 years, dead fish have flown from the state of Florida to Alabama every April in what has become as much a springtime tradition along the Gulf Coast as the opening day of professional baseball.
Since 1986, the famed Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar has drawn thousands to its seaside roadhouse for an annual event in which attendees grab a dead mule and toss it as far as they can go.
The event takes place on the beach and straddles the Florida-Alabama border.
“Joe Gilchrist, one of our owners, was trying to think of an event to hold in the shoulder season to bring business to the area,” Flora-Bama spokeswoman Jenifer Parnell said, referring to the Mullet Toss. original. “He had done something similar out West with his musician friend and decided to bring him here.”
She added: “They grabbed a cooler, friends and threw fish. It brought people to the bar, and it grew and grew.
Indeed, the Interstate Mullet Toss, dubbed the “biggest beach party” on the Gulf Coast, is expected to attract around 30,000 people over the next three days. Today’s event starts at 10am
Parnell said around 2,500 people – roughly the equivalent of the town of Stapleton – will throw a dead mule over this weekend.
The cost to throw a fish is $15, and 100% of that money goes to local charities, including the Drug and Alcohol Council and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Escambia County, Fla. Baldwin.
Red mullets are bought at a local fish market and are already dead when they get to the draw.
Parnell said about 500 of the thin fish will be chilled and prepared for launch over the weekend. The fish are thrown multiple times, Parnell said, not just once.
After this weekend, the fish will be donated to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo or Alligator Alley in Summerdale where they will be “fed to the animal,” Parnell said.
So how do you once launch a mule? Parnell’s advice is to “fold it in half and kick it like a soccer ball.”
“People are getting creative,” she said. “They try to test things.”
Here’s what you need to know if you’re attending this year’s event:
Tickets: No tickets are on sale for this event. There is a daily event cover charge to enter the Flora-Bama. If you have a membership card, you don’t have to pay for coverage.
Car park: There is no parking fee, but parking will be on a first-come, first-served basis and is limited. The Flora-Bama urges people to call a taxi, Uber, Lyft, carpool or have a friend drive. Vehicles can be left overnight but must be removed by 9:00 a.m. the following day.
Program: Throwing begins at 10 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for children. The adult raffle begins at noon daily. Prices for children (12 and under) are announced daily at 2 p.m. The raffle closes at 4:00 p.m. each day and prizes/finals are held at 4:30 p.m. An Owners/Celebrity raffle is held at 4:00 p.m. each day. The Flora-Bama is a place for all ages until 6 p.m., when it is only open to those 21 and over.
- Have your ID handy and payment in hand
- A 2022 membership card at a cost of $45 will allow access to Flora-Bama all weekend and all year round, with the exception of certain special events.
- Entrance fees to Flora-Bama this weekend are $10 for a day pass for ages 21 and older and $15 for a day pass for ages 15-20 years. Children 14 and under are free.
- The cost to launch a mule is $15. Each participant receives a t-shirt. Profits are donated to charity.
- Bars are cash only on Friday and Saturday. The site has many ATMs.
- Chairs around the Mullet Toss are free and there will be blocked off areas for standing. Personal beach chairs are permitted on Flora-Bama properties, free of charge, but space is limited.
- Food is available inside the Flora-Bama at the Oyster Bar and across the street at the Flora-Bama Yacht Club and Flora-Bama Ole River Grill.
- Mule throwing for kids starts at 10 a.m. each day and adults follow at noon.
- Special souvenirs from the 37th Annual Mullet Toss will be available from the on-site gift shop.
- No outside coolers or glass containers are allowed. Is also prohibited apart from alcohol.
- A “Hot Body” contest takes place at 1 p.m. on the tent stage on Friday and Saturday. A bikini contest begins at 3 p.m. on the tent stage on Friday and Saturday.
For more information visit: http://www.florabama.com/mullet-toss