Magnolia Branch Wildlife Reserve

Concerts and BBQ: A Southern tradition

Barbecue and country music … two things that are staples in the state of Alabama. With spring on its way in and summer just around the corner, what better way to get out and enjoy the weather than to take in a concert or two and eat some good food.

Head on up to Atmore, Ala., to the Wind Creek Casino and Hotel on March 28, 2015, for the Biggest Backyard Barbecue Competition and Tasting. This event features country music duo Thompson Square, as well as Ronnie Milsap, and includes free tastings of the people’s choice competition at the Throwdown Backyard Barbecue. Milsap performs at 6:30 p.m., and Thompson Square goes on stage at 8 p.m.

Atmore will be alive with things to do all season long, but you won’t want to miss this great spring kick-off event. Tickets range from $20 to $50. Don’t want to spend a lot on a hotel stay? No problem! Stay just 1/8 of a mile from the venue at Muskogee Inn, where you get complimentary shuttle to and from the event, plus a free play at the casino, all for a fraction of the cost.

If barbecue isn’t your thing and you need to kill time before the concerts, the City of Atmore has declared March 28 "Welcome Home Vietnam Veteran’s Day.” The Ladies Auxiliary to VFW Post 7016 will host a Welcome Home Ceremony at 4 p.m. at Heritage Park. Everyone is invited to attend as the community gathers to honor our heroes.

And for those who want to spend the day getting in tune with nature, check out Magnolia Branch Wildlife Reserve, tucked deep into the woods just 20 minutes from Wind Creek Casino and entertainment center. Go hiking on one of the trails and observe birds, trees and other wildlife. Or maybe pack a picnic lunch and relax near the creek on the beach, which offers cool, clean water perfect for swimming or just lounging and soaking up the sun. Dig your toes in and stay a while.

There are also miles and miles of campgrounds, both rustic and modern. Bring your tent or RV and set up camp.

So get your taste buds ready and your toes tappin’ to some music and come enjoy the outdoors.