ORANGE BEACH — Organizers on the Alabama – Florida line are gearing up for one of the biggest weekends in the area.
Mullet Toss 2023 will be April 28 – 30 at Flora-Bama. The interstate competition and beach party is expected to attract around 30,000 for its 38th year, according to Flora-Bama public relations director Jenifer Parnell. Anyone can join the competition for a fee that will eventually go toward a good cause.
“It costs $20 to toss a fish,” Parnell said. “And with that, you get an event T-shirt, one toss, and we donate the money to local charities in the community.”
The idea for the event came about after one of the Flora-Bama owners, Joe Gilchrist, witnessed the throwing of cow chips while on a trip out west. When he returned home, he decided to start an event on the Gulf Coast to bring more people in. He and co-owner Pat McClellan came up with the idea for the mullet toss event. It started with friends, and the rest is history.
"The first year they gathered up some friends and some coolers and went down to the beach to throw fish and The Mullet Toss was started," Parnell added. "Each year it grew and grew and did exactly as they had hoped, garnering a lot more business and now being one of the largest weekends of the year for the area with people coming to town just for this event."
By the event's name, some may think people are gathering on the beach tossing 80s-style wigs. But this event is much more difficult…and slippery! Mullet fish are ray-finned fish that live near shore in salt and fresh water. There is a high population of mullet along the Gulf Coast.
Flora-Bama purchases the fish for the competition from Safe Harbour Seafood, and what's left of them is donated to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.
The goal of the game is to throw your mullet the farthest. Parnell said there have been momentous moments of the year, but one sticks out the most.
"Seeing someone throw the record was pretty impressive," she said. "That happened in the last few years and it was over 190 feet, which when you witness, you realize how far that is!"
Parnell said the goal of the event is to bring people to the Gulf Coast for fun, a little healthy competition and charity.
For more information on Mullet Toss, go to Florabama.com/mullet-toss.
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