INUAGURAL EXPLORE MOBILE
For many born and raised in Mobile, the city holds fond memories of reaching over the barricades downtown to catch a moonpie during Mardi Gras, strolling through the Christmas lights at Bellingrath Gardens, exploring the barracks at Fort Conde and gazing longingly at the inspiring gowns at the Carnival Museum. Mobile is a special city to a lot of folks; and on June 4, 2017, locals and visitors alike had the opportunity to explore a city with such culture and depth for an entire afternoon.
In celebration of Alabama’s 200th birthday in 2019, the Alabama Bicentennial Commission launched a three-year celebration full of activities and events throughout the state. Keeping with the commission’s “discovering our places” theme for 2017, Gavin Snyder, Marketing and Events Manager for the History Museum of Mobile, cultivated the idea for an event that would allow for people to explore the 300 years of Mobile history while also experiencing the liveliness of a thriving downtown. From this idea, Explore Mobile was born.
“The inaugural Explore Mobile was a huge success and we are thankful the Alabama Bicentennial Commission gave us the platform to celebrate the history and vibrancy of our great Port City,” said Snyder. “Attendees were able to enrich themselves in local culture and truly experience what it means to be a Mobilian.”
The free event featured more than 30 vendors, garnering 1500 attendees. Those attendees enjoyed delicious Mobile cuisine, an array of activities, discounted admission to the area’s attractions and live music by local favorites Clay Cockrell, Sergio and the Satin Dogs, The Red Clay Strays and the Excelsior Band. Participating attractions and organizations included Mobile Carnival Museum, Historic Mobile Preservation Society, GulfQuest, Bellingrath Gardens and Home, Mobile Medical Museum, Mobile Mardi Gras Trail, Bragg Mitchell, Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center, 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center, The Fort of Colonial Mobile, Conde-Charlotte Museum House, Dora Franklin Finley African-American Heritage Trail of Mobile and the History Museum of Mobile.
Aside from the vendors, food and music, what truly made this event so spectacular was its ability to gather locals together to remember what their city means to them. As many Mobilians know, this city, once known as the Paris of the South, is a special, unique place that is home to some of the South’s finest, most eclectic individuals. It was born to be celebrated.
Eugene Walters said it best – “if, as a child, you saw every Mardi Gras, the figure of folly chasing death around the broken column of life, beating him on the back with a fool’s scepter from which dangled two gilded pig bladders wouldn’t you see the world in different terms, too?”