1. Bayfest

Mobile is a rapidly growing, yet traditional city of approximately 210,000 people (metropolitan population of 500,000). It was settled in 1502 by the French and was subsequently governed by Britain, Spain, the US, and the Confederacy before being retaken for the US by Admiral Farragut in 1864. Mobile’s streets are shaded by a canopy of live oaks and the city features a mild climate with flowers blooming year round. Other attractions include the annual Mardi Gras festivities, Senior Bowl, and GMAC bowl, as well as 12 month of fishing and sailing. The University sponsors Division I basketball and baseball, and is launching football along with a band program for the 2009 football season. Beaches at Gulf Shores, Pensacola and Dauphin Island are within an hour of drive. The Mobile metropolitan area is experiencing the greatest job growth of any area in the state. The national publication Forbes projects the Mobile area as the fastest growing small metro area between the years 2007 to 2012. Major industries include computer hardware and software, textiles, seafood processing, oil and gas production, paper and lumber products, chemicals, aviation, shipbuilding, and tourism. Mobile is the deep water port for Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway and a gateway to more than 16,000 miles of navigable rivers. With the community’s strong growth comes an increased need for educational and medical services provided through the University of South Alabama.

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