The Coastal Alabama Business Chamber announced the 2020 edition of the Annual National Shrimp Festival, slated for Oct. 8-11 in Gulf Shores, has been canceled.

The decision was made to ensure the safety and well-being of community members and visitors.

"This determination is being made now in fairness to the many volunteers, sponsors, vendors, contractors, our local municipalities, and local businesses so they are not put at the disadvantage of a last-minute announcement," said Greg Alexander, president and CEO of the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber.

Organizers said the free, non-ticketed and ungated event built around a family-friendly atmosphere would put an unrealistic burden on guaranteeing compliance with health regulations and protocols.

"There have been many people involved in the collective process of avenues and alternatives to organize and adapt the festival around the COVID-19 pandemic, but the one thing we've always been able to rely on in making an informed, calculated decision is 'the known,'" said Shrimp Festival Chairman Spencer Cade.

"With COVID-19 and the restrictions and limitations that may or may not exist in October, it would be challenging if not impossible to produce a healthy, profitable, fun and, of course, successful festival for all participants," Cade said.

Alexander said the goal now is to begin preparing for the 2021 edition of the festival and work toward making it the best yet in Gulf Shores. "We thank everyone for your understanding during these unprecedented times, and we look forward to the possibility of coming back bigger and stronger next year."

The festival is known for being held the second full weekend of October each year and attracting thousands of guests to enjoy four solid days of live musical entertainment on two stages—country, classic rock, jazz and more; shrimp served just about any way you want it as well as non-seafood festival favorites; art ranging from paintings and sculpture to jewelry; and arts and crafts booths filled with a variety of whimsical things to take home.

Kids activities also take center stage with a sandcastle building contest, face painting, fun rides and bounce houses, and more activities.

The Shrimp Festival began as a small event designed to celebrate the bountiful shrimp caught in the area. Here’s a VIDEO sharing the details of the festival’s history.

Make plans now to attend the 2021 edition of the festival. And, to save money on accommodations and enjoy more space and privacy, choose a vacation rental instead of a hotel room for your family during your Shrimp Festival vacation.