A boatload of fun had by thousands out on the Causeway and locals this past weekend proved they aren’t scared of the dark on the Eastern Shore. Just another crazy, fun-filled weekend on the Gulf Coast. So go ahead and grab your paddles and row your way right on through this edition of the BBN.

Paddles up
The Fuse Project’s 2nd Annual Dragon Boat Festival took place at Five Rivers Delta Center on Saturday, June 6, and it was absolutely packed — so much so they ran out of parking not just at Five Rivers but also on the Causeway, where they were trolleying in folks from various locations. Organizers were quick to respond and opened up an additional parking lot at the Bass Pro Shop in Spanish Fort to bring out the thousands who attended to watch 40 local teams compete.

The race itself entails 22 team members (20 paddlers, one drummer to keep the beat and a steerer) rowing a 46-foot-long canoe. Lagniappe had a team, which we lovingly called “Let Them Eat Wake.” Sadly not many people did eat our wake, but we still came in 28th out of 40, which was good enough to beat al.com (a team goal) and other media participants to take the media division, which is probably just a sad testament to the shape our local media members are in. Guess you could say we “paddled” our media competition. Sorry, the dragon boat guru who trained us Friday was really fond of cornball jokes and it may have rubbed off.

Matt McCoy of iHeart Radio certainly did everything he could to spur his team on in the day’s second race, giving a pre-game pep talk that would have made Bear Bryant shed a tear.

All of Lagniappe’s rowers still reported extreme soreness even on Monday (we do just sit around in front of computers all day, so that was to be expected). And of course, we didn’t practice except for once, the day before, and don’t look like the members of CrossFit Saraland — just sayin’. Word on the street is some of the more serious teams were practicing every day in their conference rooms — which is probably a good idea because as we learned this is really more about all of your paddlers being in sync with one another rather than strength, which is harder than it sounds.

Needless to say, the Lagniappe team was off a little. OK, maybe a lot in that second race, but it was still fun.
Another fun part of the day was getting a glimpse of all of the team drummers dressed up in crazy costumes. There were lots of feathers and crazy wigs and face and body paint, including the Boozester’s personal favorite, which seemed to be a Jack and the Beanstalk- or Jolly Green Giant-inspired get-up with full-on green body paint.

All of the kiddos had a great time in the Kids Zone, jumping in bouncy houses, riding horses and holding and/or chasing the animals in the petting zoo. But one of my spies did report witnessing one of the potbelly pigs escaping from the petting zoo enclosure and heading for the Delta woods, with its handler chasing after it.

No word on whether the little piggy was recovered or if it went to the market or had roast beef (from Geaux Boy food truck?). But hopefully it eventually cried wee-wee-wee on its way back home. (OK, sorry, I couldn’t resist that one.)
Uncle Henry, of AM 710 fame, was on hand in full regalia, braving the 90-plus-degree heat to offer his curmudgeonly take on the event. He may be old and crotchety, but he can take the heat.

But anyway, AOC Sports took home the coveted painted paddle for first place, with CrossFit of Saraland taking second and Hargrove EFC, taking third. Hargrove even had their very own fancy life jackets with “Hargrove” stitched on each of them, which made many other rowers jealous, because let’s just say some of the life jackets provided did not exactly smell like daisies.

But all the blood, sweat, tears, sore bums, disappointing defeats and stinky life jackets were well worth it, as this incredible group raised more than $150,000 for local children’s charities, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Mobile County Public School System, Prichard Preparatory School and Soccer4Life. And all of the funds stay right here in our community to help our kids. And $150,000 in just your second year is beyond impressive — Kudos guys! We can’t wait until next year, where we hope to come in 27th!

Lights out, no problem
As American Pharoah galloped into the history books as the first Triple Crown winner in nearly 40 years, many on the Eastern Shore missed it, as thousands were without power for nearly seven hours. While many were bummed they missed the Belmont, others found entertainment options they could enjoy off the grid.

Great Peacock, an incredible band based out of Nashville, was scheduled to play at Manci’s in Daphne Saturday night. They had just played at Manci’s sister bar, Callaghan’s in the OGD, the night before and garnered rave reviews. The power company kept assuring Manci’s owners the lights would be back on soon, but it became obvious it just wasn’t going to be “soon” enough.

So, the band lit some candles and unplugged their guitars and played what was described as a “magical” first acoustic set. My spies said folks were turning on their cell phone flashlights to provide even more light and many videos of the intimate performance made the rounds on social media. Eventually, the power came back on, and the Peacocks plugged back in and shut down the place with a set that was “electric” in more ways than one.

Well, kids, that’s all I got. Just remember, whether rain or shine, dramatic or scandalous, or some plain ol’ media-division winning, dragon boat team lovin’, I will be there. Ciao!