GULF SHORES, Ala. (WALA) - It may be fall, but one of the biggest events of the year is taking place this weekend in Gulf Shores.
The 41st Annual National Shrimp Festival runs from Thursday through Sunday, and it isn't just for locals.
The grounds of the Shrimp Festival along the Gulf were packed Thursday.
Thursday was the first day of the festival, and it's not even the weekend.
But, tourism officials said the festival attracts plenty of people from all over the country who spend some of their vacation time here.
Herb Malone with the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau said, "It's a great season extender. In the early days of Gulf Shores development on Labor Day Weekend, you would pretty much pull the blinds down, board up the windows, go home, and wait for Spring Break. But, with Shrimp Festival happening in mid-October, it gives us a full six weeks of extension on our high season."
In between bites of Coconut Shrimp and other seafood specialties, plenty of visitors from out of town were happy to talk about why they came here.
Nikki Morrell has been coming here for nine years to see her grandfather, and eat.
She said, "I live in Wausau, Wisconsin. We drove, me and my husband, and we actually brought his parents this year, so, this is their first time at Gulf Shores."
They came from near, Jessica Gonder came from Madison, Alabama, and far, like a Ball State fan from Noblesville, Indiana.
John Murphy said, "It's pretty amazing. It's a lot bigger than we thought. We actually are staying an extra day. We're prolonging our trip. We were supposed to leave today, but we're staying an extra day to check it all out."
Malcom Biedekapp from Watertown, New York likes it so much in Gulf Shores, he's moving here.
Well, there's another reason, too.
Biedekapp said, "I'm going to get married down here Saturday and live here the rest if my life."
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