With the first blooms of spring on the Gulf Coast comes a unique way to celebrate the beauty of the area—art festivals.

During March, visitors and locals alike enjoy several major art festivals in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fairhope.

Ballyhoo, A Celebration Of Art & Culture In Gulf Shores

A brand new festival is Ballyhoo, a Celebration of Art and Culture.

To be held from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., Saturday, March 5, 2016, in the new Waterway Village District of Gulf Shores, this event will showcase a variety of fine arts.

Produced by the Gulf Coast Arts Alliance, whose gallery is located in the Waterway Village District, the festival will feature:

• Juried fine arts
• Performances by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in tribal costume
• Live musical entertainment stage
• Queen of Ballyhoo Contest moderated by TV news celebrity Darwin Singleton
• The Ballyhoo Dance Contest, also moderated by Singleton
• On-site demonstrations of pottery making; fabric and basket weaving; art glass; and more
• Children’s hands-on art activities
• Ballyhoo Petting Zoo for kids
• Local seafood from Waterway Village restaurants
• Roasted corn and kettle corn honoring the Creek culture.

Ballyhoo will be a showcase event of the Gulf Coast Arts Alliance, which also produces the monthly Waterway Village Art market. Gulf Coast Arts Alliance is located at 225 East 24th Avenue, Waterway Village, Gulf Shores.

Bound into Ballyhoo from your Gulf Shores beach condo or house.

Get Up Close & Personal With The Arts In Orange Beach

Set for March 12-13, 2016, in Orange Beach is the Orange Beach Arts Festival, a family-friendly event held at the Coastal Arts Center and Waterfront Park at 26389 Canal Road.

For 42 years, the Orange Beach Festival of Art has been Pleasure Island's first rite of spring. It is a celebration of visual, performing, musical and culinary arts.

With more than 100 artists working in a dazzling variety of medias, festivalgoers always have plenty to see, hear, touch, taste and experience.

Saturday’s lineup of live music will feature Coconut Radio, Lisa Zanier, Brent Burns and Roman Street. Sunday’s lineup consists of Lisa Christian, Three Bean Soup and Cornbred.

Called Kids’ Art Alley, a collection of hands-on art stations will allow children to make and take their own art: masks and magic wands, rock painting, clay art, photo frames, spool jewelry and sand in a bottle. Children can also create their own cowboy and safari hats, grab a kazoo and join in a parade around the park. They can also put their personal touch on a giant artist’s palette.

Public parking is available at The Wharf, and shuttles will run between the parking area and the festival for only $2 per person, round trip.

The Coastal Arts Center’s Cultural Campus features The Hot Shop, The Clay Studio, and The Gallery & Gift Shop. Construction is underway on a brand new building to house the work of the art center, including classes and workshops.

Numerous vacation condos and houses are located in Orange Beach close to the festival, including Phoenix on the Bay, Phoenix on the Bay II, Perdido Grande and The Moorings. Or, bring the family to the beach to stay in a three-bedroom condo in Orange Beach.

A Unique & Beautiful Downtown Tradition

Fairhope, once a sleepy farming town tucked into the eastern shore Mobile Bay, has transformed into an eclectic town that pays tributes to the fine arts year round.

But during mid-March, the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce kicks it up a notch with the Annual Fairhope Arts & Crafts Festival.

Slated for March 16-18, 2016, the Fairhope Arts & Crafts Festival will take over the streets of the quaint downtown. During this three-day fete, more than 200 artists from all over the country will showcase their finest works at this prestigious juried show.

The festival, which attracts 300,000 visitors, also offers live entertainment and delicious cuisine from restaurateurs and concessions vendors who come far and wide to participate.

Sunshine Artist magazine has ranked the Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival as one of the top 100 “Best Classic & Contemporary Craft Shows in the United States” for the last 11 years.

Baldwin County Area Transportation System offers a shuttle service from the parking lots of the shopping centers at the intersection of Fairhope Avenue and main Highway 98. The parking is free, and the shuttle ride is only $2.

Want a front row seat for Fairhope’s celebration of the arts? Consider Serenity on the Bay in Fairhope or a four-bedroom condo in Gulf Shores for your festival home base.

Or, consider turning your trip into a girls’ getaway and book a three-bedroom condo in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan.