Pleasure Island events planned

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Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX of Orange Beach

Pleasure Island events planned

Sunday, April 27, 2008 Submitted by Kimberly Shumack

Pleasure Island's population swells every weekend as the promise of fun-filled summer afternoons at the beach draws near. However, one weekend outside the traditional summer season is said by organizers to offer more events than one could imagine, from athletics to festivals to concerts, during the first weekend in May.

The 2008 Brett/Robinson Alabama Coastal Triathlon is set for Saturday at the Gulf State Park Pavilion in Gulf Shores. The competition begins early Saturday morning with a 1,000-yard swim in the Gulf and moves on to a 20-mile bike ride through the state park. Athletes will head for the finish line during the final leg a 5-mile run. This event holds two distinctions; it is the Alabama State Qualifier for the Best of the U.S. Amateur Triathlete Competition and the USA Triathlon Intermediate Distance Alabama State Championship.

In addition to the triathlon, other athletes will also be in town as the area hosts the 2008 Alabama High School Athletic Association's Boys and Girls State Track Championship on Friday and Saturday. More than 1,500 teenage athletes from all over Alabama will converge on the Gulf Shores Sportsplex for the Division 4A-6A championships in 17 different events. Admission is $6 per day, and action begins each morning at 9:30 a.m.

"Athletic events like these are a wonderful way to showcase the area's top-notch sporting venues in addition to introducing this family-friendly destination to more individuals," said Beth Gendler, director of sales for the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Many people think of us as a beach with great seafood and excellent lodging, which is true. But the work of our Sports Commission is also establishing the area as a premiere athletic destination."

While some individuals will be pursuing a championship trophy, others will be in search of that perfect glass of wine at the Southern Breeze Wine and Culinary Festival, which will be held at The Wharf in Orange Beach on Saturday through May 4. Start the weekend at the five-course dinner Friday night, while Saturday features a wine tasting from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Conclude the weekend with the walkabout brunch May 4 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more details and ticket information, visit www.southernbreeze.com/winefest.

Meanwhile, hard-core music fans will be lining up for an outdoor concert at The Wharf. On Friday, The Wharf's Amphitheater will come alive with the sounds of Kid Rock and special guest Rev Run. Gates open at 7:00 p.m. for the show that starts one hour later. For more information or tickets, visit www.thewharfal.com.

While the young, or young at heart, party like rock stars, journey back to the days of T-birds and beehives with the 2008 Gulf Shores Hangout Reunion. This beachside burger stand of the late 1950s was rebuilt just in time for the Saturday event. From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., individuals can listen and dance to the sounds of the Sand Band and blast back to a different time. Drinks and food will be provided. "Last year was our first-ever reunion, and it was great success," said Gayle Hart, a hangout reunion committee member. "We expect even more people this year. I went to the original Hangout in the late 1960s, and it was good, clean All-American fun."

The new restaurant is at the corner of Alabama 59 and Alabama 182. For more information, visit www.

hangoutreunion.org.

To learn more about all that Alabama's beaches have to offer, visit www.tinsleymyrick.com

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