Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

How To Have Fun In Alabama? How Far Can You Throw A Dead Fish?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, April 28, 2017

Mullets in a box ready for the Mullet Toss®

Southerners are quirky. There’s no denying that.

For example, this weekend will mark the 33d anniversary of a fish throwing contest on Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

Yes, 33 years ago, Jimmy Louis, a local musician at a bar in Orange Beach, Alabama thought it might be oddly entertaining to have people toss a dead fish across the invisible Alabama/Florida state line into Perdido Key, Florida – an adjacent unincorporated community.

Interestingly, some agreed.

And thus began the Annual Interstate Mullet Toss®.

The germ for his idea actually sprang from watching an Arkansas cow chip tossing contest, in which contestants competed for the longest distance one could fling a pile of cow poo. In fact, there’s even an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records for such an event. Seems people will do anything for entertainment. There’s no mention of whether the cow patties were dried, or not.

Rachel Simons of Satsuma, AL tosses a mullet at the 31st annual Interstate Mullet Toss and Gulf Coast’s Greatest Beach Party at the Flora-Bama Lounge and Package in Perdido Key, FL. The event is well underway with many folks competing in the mullet toss Friday, April 24, 2015. (image by Brian Kelly)

So on Independence Day weekend 1985, using a locally abundant natural resource, the mullet – a modestly-sized saltwater fish not prized for any purpose other than being good for bait – the Mullet Toss was born.

And in 1988, when former University of Alabama & NFL Quarterback Ken Stabler, an Alabama native, who was on hand, along with CNN, to participate in the event, from that point, attendance began to increase. The hosting facility, the Flora-Bama nightclub and lounge – which literally spans the Alabama/Florida state line – began to increase the size of their facility, which also had changed the date of the event to the last full week in April.

In 2013, an estimated 35,000 people thronged to Pensacola for the Mullet Toss, booked 5,558 hotel room nights and spent over $10.4 million. While there were no estimates for the numbers of people who stayed in Alabama, booked hotel accommodations there, or their in-state spending, suffice it to say, the figures would likely be similarly substantial.

So… aside from the quirky idea of tossing a bait fish across the states’ line, what’s the hoopla all about?

Some describe it as a weekend “spring break” for adults.

Pat McClellan, Flora-Bama co-owner helped found the first Mullet Toss, noted the attendees’ good behavior and said, “People choose to take time off and come down here. It’s not like one of the forced holiday weekends where everybody goes to the beach because that’s the only time they can get away. It’s not the college kids who haven’t grown up yet like spring break. It’s the people who really want to be here. That’s why we’re able to have so many people gather here without all those issues.”

But, there’s MORE!

The Mullet Man Triathlon, has been a significant part of the attraction, in addition to the quintessential bikini contest, and other events, many with cash prizes… including a “fashion show” featuring outlandish costumes, and the mandatory mullet wig.

Live music, of course, is an integral part of any such event, and that’s true for the Mullet Toss® as well.

It’s really quite a large, two-day event.

Why else would the name be a Registered Trade mark?

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