City and shrimp festival planners avoid disaster with quick thinking


Hundreds of people spent over a year planning every intricate detail of this weekend’s 48th Annual Shrimp Festival.

Just weeks ago, those well-laid plans nearly fell apart when budget cuts forced the Baldwin Regional Area Transit System to walk away from its role as festival shuttle.

The decision could have left 18,000 visitors stranded and left to hike their way to the beachfront festivities from parking lots that were miles away.

It could have been a disaster. Thanks to quick thinking and quick decision-making by Gulf Shores city and school officials, visitors will never see a difference in service or quality at this year’s festival.

The newly minted Gulf Shores City Schools has offered its fleet of yellow school buses to transport festival guests. Quick thinking officials there realized that the traditional $5 rider fee could be an enormous fundraising opportunity.

When community leaders come together to fix a crisis with careful consideration and inventive ideas, the result is almost magical. More people will fit on the long yellow school buses, possibly equaling shorter wait times for shuttle riders. The minor inconvenience of shuttered roads and detours means a huge boost in the coffers of school programs for local families.

The city of Gulf Shores has quickly, efficiently and creatively turned what could have easily been a disaster into planning genius. Bravo.