(GULF SHORES, Ala.) Local beaches are home away from home for hundreds of visitors known as "snowbirds" who have begun moving in to South Alabama. The migration usually starts right after the holidays.
The license plates say it all, it's a sign the snowbirds have arrived. They move in to the camp grounds, the condos and hotels. "Do I have a lot of fun? Heavens yes. We get around with all these folks and play cards and go bowling and you know - shuffle board - no I don't play shuffle board I can't even lift the balls," said Jean Lake, who is visiting from Missouri.
For these folks, it's a retirement paradise for the winter and a boom to the local economy. Snowbirds contribute to a 40% occupancy rate in January and more than 60 % in February. Earlier this week we saw dozens at the Polar Dip in the Gulf. Jerry Cummins from Saint Louis says it's tradition now. Our cold weather here is not a problem.
It's all about escaping the frozen north. "We had snow showers all the way down I- 64 through Nashville up to Athens Alabama," said Carol Musial who is also visiting from Missouri. Ambassadors for the coast. Now more than ever, after the oil spill, these are the folks the beach economy can count on every year.
Saturday January 12th visitors can attend the now annual snowbird fest from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Orange Beach Event Center at the Wharf.