Can you believe it? In the past year of COVID-19, we’ve suffered more events being canceled than we’ve had chances to enjoy our community as we had before. Thankfully, the folks at beautiful Bellingrath Gardens and Home have decided to create a much-needed fun and new experience in their outdoor gardens.
On Saturday, March 6, you can frolic on down to the gardens for Bellingrath’s Beers & Blooms. This taste-budding extravaganza will bring all of your senses joy as you gaze upon delightful flowers and foliage while sipping adult beverages and enjoying some of the best local music that Mobile has to offer.
“We’ve never done anything like this. It’s really exciting, and we’ve gotten some great responses,” Sally Ericson, director of marketing and public relations at Bellingrath, said. “It’s odd during these times. There isn’t much going on, but we wanted to bring people out, especially younger crowds who’ve only been to the gardens for Magic Christmas in Lights.”
With that in mind, the idea of a festive, family-friendly event began forming.
“It really highlights the azalea season, and we were looking for funky Mobile music!” she said. “Hopefully, this event will go on for many many years and add on as we go.”
On the stage, you’ll get to hear from four different local bands: Nerf the World, the Ryan Dreibelbis Band, Lee Yankie and Symone French & the Trouille Troupe.
“I would describe our sounds as experimental-funk-fusion-jazz-soul music,” said John Milham, who plays the drums for Nerf the World. “We became a band because of the pandemic around May of 2020. We were all touring with different groups before the shutdown happened.”
In our current atmosphere, many are still concerned about social distancing and staying healthy.
“We want people to feel safe, and with our space, we can make this happen without much worry,” Ericson said.
With 65 acres of land at Bellingrath, it seems it would be the perfect place for a party.
“We did end up placing a cap on the tickets to ensure safety, but it does include beer from over 10 vendors, and we have scavenger hunts for children! It’s just a great way to get outside,” she said.
This event not only offers people something fun to do, it’s giving businesses and musicians somewhere to share their crafts. Due to the pandemic, various people and places have had to change it up. Braided River Brewing is one of those places. They opened in downtown Mobile just six weeks before Gov. Kay Ivey ordered the lockdown on April 3, 2020.
Founder David Nelson has always had a passion for beer and the great outdoors.
“I wanted to celebrate that with a locally focused craft brewery that works to connect the community to both,” he said.
When the lockdown happened, he had to improvise.
“The initial challenge of COVID was that all of our revenue streams disappeared in what felt like an instant. We were only operating the taproom and sending draft beer to bars and restaurants — but then everything was closed,” Nelson said. “However, we were able to set up a curbside pickup service which people really came out to support us through. That bought us enough time to coordinate with a mobile-canning operation [they bring a canning line to your brewery on demand], and we were able to start sending out six-packs in the summertime. Fortunately, the people of Mobile have been super supportive of us and we’ve been able to hang on through this crazy year!”
Along with Braided River, you can grab a sip from Serda, Yellowhammer, Avondale, Fairhope and many more. Vendors and food trucks will also be available for various purchasing wants and needs.
“I’m really excited for the event at Bellingrath Gardens,” Nelson said. “It’s such a wonderful place to spend the day outside, and we’ve got a bunch of beers great for doing just that with.”
If you’re wondering what the brewer prefers, “my go-to beer these days is Hang Out, our hazy pale ale,” he said. “It’s citrusy and super smooth and is just such an easy, delicious beer to drink. If it feels more like a winter day, then you can’t go wrong with either our Coastal Stout or Winter Crush.”
With flower-friendly music, the music won’t be disturbing the in-blooms, which include camellias and violas. Coupled with refreshing sips, tasty treats and so much more to participate in, the event is surely something worth getting out of the house for.
“We’re so thrilled, especially with the local feel and flavor,” Ericson said. “It’s been one of those things that has come together far better than we thought it would.”
Festivities start at noon, but the gardens open at 8 a.m. Tickets are limited and $25 each. Visit bellingrath.org/beers_blooms to purchase. T-shirts will also be available.
Schedule of bands:
Lee Yankie: noon to 1 p.m.
The Ryan Dreibelbis Band: 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Symone French & the Trouille Troupe: 3-4 p.m.
Nerf the World: 4:30-6 p.m.
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