Not a terribly scenic photo, but it is a sign of horrible economic times in south Alabama. All Gulf Coast beaches have been closed since March 27. Most businesses have closed and tourist rentals stand vacant. There were no spring breakers, no Snowbirds and the Hangout music festival has been cancelled. This portable sign sits at the edge of the Foley Beach Express about ten miles north of the Gulf of Mexico beaches at Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
GULF SHORES, AL; March 6, 2020 – It was 68° F, there was no ice on the water, but it felt as if there could have been. Young folks were down at the edge of the shoreline, a few wading, some playing volleyball, many just lying in the sun, determined to get a tan before the end of their vacations. But elderly folks sheltered themselves from the northerly wind behind a public building, soaking up the sun’s warmth, glad for the reprieve of shoveling snow back home.
Frigid north winds blew the tops off two to three-foot waves rolling onto the beach, and brought record cold temperatures to the Gulf Coast last night. Sandpipers, Seagulls and Pelicans didn’t seem to be adversly affected by the cold, but there were precious few humans anywhere near the beach.
Every third Friday of the month, Pensacola, Florida hosts Gallery Night. Downtown streets are closed to vehicular traffic at 5 p.m. when residents and visitors are invited for free events, such as an art fair, and live music on the streets. Many restaurants offer sidewalk cafe’s in the shade of Live Oak and Sycamore trees.
I went to see the 26th annual Power of Photography show (a spectacular photography exhibit) and was pleasantly surprised to see all the activity going on in town. Vendors along Government Street offer for sale very nice arts & crafts, there is free music everywhere, and many businesses offer special prices on drinks. The official party ends at 9 p.m., but most bars and restaurants stay open much later in the evening.
The photo was taken outside Carmen’s restaurant on South Palafox Street shortly after the festivities began. I rendered it in brown tones because it just felt like an old-time community event.