It’s all for charity and raises a lot of needed funds. It’s all in good fun, and thousands of spectators yearly visit the Alabama Gulf Coast.

While dead mullets were flying from Florida into Alabama, celebrity contestants at the annual Interstate Mullet Toss Saturday were two head coaches from the University of Alabama.

Alabama football head coach Kalen DeBoer and UA basketball head coach Nate Oats faced off at the Flora-Bama to toss mullets into the next state. The Alabama-Florida line runs through the Flora-Bama property, so it is in both states.

DeBoer is still an object of curiosity as the brand-new coach following Nick Saban.

Oats is on a popularity high, as he took the Tide basketball team to its first Final Four.

The hugely attended annual event features contestants who throw a dead mullet over the state line separating Florida and Alabama to see whose mullet gets the farthest.   

The Mullet Toss consists of individuals on the beach throwing a mullet from a 10-foot circle in Florida across the state line into Alabama. The ‘athletic competition” is accompanied by a weekend-long party and music, all while helping raise money for the local community.

The Flora-Bama’s official description of the charitable purposes of the mullet toss reads:

Proceeds from every mullet tossed go to Local Youth Charities, including local schools’ education and prevention programs from the Community Drug & Alcohol Council, Inc. (CDAC) which offers programs, community support and collaboration to address drug and alcohol abuse, tobacco, mental health issues and violence both in the home and on our streets.  

Each year, with your help, we have raised and contributed over $40,000 to local charities, especially youth organizations on both sides of the state line.

The Mullet Toss awards prizes for age groups and males and females. Spectators pay a cover charge, and contestants pay an entry fee.

Contestants toss one mullet across the Florida/Alabama state line. Mullet are thrown from a 10-foot circle. No stepping out of the circle is allowed during a throw.

The mullet are all dead and are later donated to Alligator Alley and the Gulf Coast Zoo for use as alligator feed.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) requested last week that the Flora-Bama Lounge, Package, and Oyster Bar change its Mullet-Toss procedures. In a letter, PETA asked Flora-Bama to replace the dead mullet always tossed across the state line with realistic, reusable rubber fish.

The PETA request continued: “The group is also offering to cater the event with tasty vegan fish sandwiches that spare animals a violent death and don’t come with the mercury, iodine, sewage, and other contaminants that real fish contain.”

PETA’s request was sent just four days before the first event of the Mullet Toss, which will take place on Friday, April 26 and continue through the weekend to April 28.

“Every fish whose body is treated like a hacky sack at this event was once an individual who had a life precious to them, swam free, had feelings, and didn’t want to die. PETA wants to help modernize the moment with fabulous fake fish that no one had to die for.”

Management at the Flora-Bama and the Mullet Toss did not agree to the PETA request and went ahead with the mullet toss using real dead mullet, as they always have.

Coaches DeBoer and Oates also competed using real mullet, as did all contestants.

With the two Alabama head coaches at the event and competing, there was a lot of University of Alabama vocal presence there, and “roll tide” could be heard over the sound of the close-by tide of the Gulf of Mexico.

Shelby Mitchell of Mobile radio-fame posted:Chunk a dead fish across the state line with a few thousand of your closest friends? Why yes I believe I will. Even rising Latino country star Frank Ray came to throw with us.”

The final day of the mullet toss is Sunday, April 28. Award winners and the total amount of charitable funds raised will be announced then.

The Flora-Bama is a restaurant, bar, dance floor, and marina that also hosts a church service each Sunday morning. The “Church at the Flora-Bama” is held every Sunday at 9 a.m. and again at 11 a.m. with live music and Bible-based speakers. The church also held beachside services on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

“A church in a bar where it is okay not to be okay.”  Hundreds of worshipers attend each service, some of whom have not been inside a traditional church in years.

“Outreach on the beach.”

Jim ‘Zig’ Zeigler writes about Alabama’s people, places, events, groups and prominent deaths.  He is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at

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