Dauphin Island wasn’t just the first place European explorers landed in our area, it was also a valued port. By 1717, Governor of French Louisiana (and founder of Detroit) Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac took up residence on what was originally dubbed Massacre Island.

The park that still bears his name – Cadillac Square – has been the historic heart of the barrier island and witnessed more than history but recreation as well. The public land under sprawling oaks is the natural locale for gatherings like Arts in the Park Nature Festival on June 7. The event promises artisans from around the Southeast in addition to exhibits, hands-on animal interactions and other natural and environmentally themed programming.

The South Mobile County Tourism Authority (SOMO) proclaims more than 50 artists and craftsmen will be on hand with painting, pottery, sculpture, woodcarving, jewelry, metal work, furniture and more. Hot glass and painting demonstrations are scheduled. Blue Ridge, Ala. artist Steve Garst will be on hand to sign copies of this year’s poster, a product of his skill.

Several environmentally themed groups will be there, including Blu Revival Surf Shop, Mobile Bay Canoe and Kayak Club, Paddle Bayou La Batre, Eastern Shore Fly Fishers, Certified and Master Casting Instructors, Share the Beach, Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuaries, The Environmental Studies Center of Mobile, Weeks Bay Reserve, Alabama Marine Resources, Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and more.

Children’s activities will include the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Estuarium’s Touch Table and their traveling marine science classroom, BayMobile. The Touch Table offers visitors a chance to see and feel diverse specimens from Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

Food vendors will also be available to whet active appetites.

The event is free and hosted by SOMO.

You can find more info at https://www.facebook.com/ArtInTheParkNatureFest or call Dena McKee at 251-861-BIRD (2473).

Arts in the Park Nature Fest
Where: Cadillac Square, Dauphin Island
When: June 7, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.