We all know just how much fun can be found on Alabama's wonderful Gulf Coast all year round. The inviting azure waters, the miles of pristine white beaches, the fabulous restaurants and bars; one doesn't need a particular reason to come down to Orange Beach, or to feel the soothing southern sun on your skin and to get the sugar soft sand between your toes.
For watersports enthusiasts, the allure of this wonderful area gets even stronger when the annual Thunder on the Gulf event comes roaring to our shores. This exciting powerboat race attracts hordes of thrill-seeking spectators to the region every year and organizers are promising that 2011's event will be even better than ever! Scheduled to take place in early October, Thunder on the Gulf is home to the Offshore Powerboat Association (OPA) World Championships.
Visitors and local residents alike flock to Alabama's Gulf Coast in the thousands to soak up the ambience of the race festivities, which includes a sensational program of entertainment for the whole family. Fans can meet the race teams, observe the amazing boats at close quarters and watch the Boat Parade while soaking up the atmosphere of the Race Village at the Orange Beach State Park Pavilion. Live entertainment, a silent auction and delicious food and drinks will all add to the sense of occasion, while official merchandising and vendor stalls will ensure that powerboat enthusiasts will be able to take home a perfect memento of this unforgettable event.
The race teams will arrive in Orange Beach on October 5, with the event officially opening the following day, when the public can view the powerboats in the Race Village. Following Thursday's course testing, the official races begin in earnest at noon on Friday 7 October. After a fun-packed Saturday, which includes the Boat Parade and VIP Gala at the Orange Beach Event Center, the races will recommence on Sunday. To close festivities, the official Thunder on the Gulf Awards Ceremony will kick off at 6pm.
With demand likely to be higher than ever for this year's race, organizers are recommending that those wishing to purchase VIP passes do so as soon as possible, as they will be seriously limited. These exclusive, great value passes allow daily entry and buffet lunch in the hospitality tent right on the beach, free shuttle buses, daily entry to the Race Village throughout the event, plus VIP admission to exclusive parties, Saturday evening's Thunder on the Gulf Gala, and Sunday's awards ceremony. VIP ticket holders also receive official Thunder on the Gulf t-shirts and limited edition posters.
Though this event isn't scheduled for a few months, it's important that if you're planning to stay in the area during this event, that you make your condo reservations early to avoid disappointment.
If you're visiting Orange Beach for the first time, prepare to fall in love. There are amenities galore, and the beachfront is amazing. For accommodations, you'll find a great selection of condos and detached houses — many with gorgeous water views and beachfront property. In fact, Orange Beach is so appealing that after the race, you may have a hard time leaving!