WHAT A BLAST!
Last night my family and I attended the opening night of SeaWorld’s annual “Bands Brew & BBQ” signature event. And I must say it was a whole lotta family fun!
This was the first time I had attended this event and I can promise it won’t be my last.
When we arrived at the theme park, around 3 pm, the parking lot was already about 80% full but our experience that night included short lines and smooth crowd control. I brought two teenagers with me and they said they didn’t wait longer than about 15 minutes for all of the popular coaster rides like Manta.
Upon entering the park we headed straight for the festivities along the Bayside Pathway. The pathway opens up for guests at 11:30am. I wish we had arrived earlier to take in some more of the local band’s music that SeaWorld had booked. They were excellent!
We figured we’d have just enough time to check out some of the great local flavor before making our way to the Bayside Stadium at 5:00 pm to catch Alan Jackson. We had a great vantage point along the pathway to keep an eye on seating. We wanted to make sure we had a seat to watch the show.
As a bit of a beer snob I was delighted to find dozens of craft beers offered along the promenade.
The best deal by far was the $24 Craft Brew Sampler which included 10 samples of your choosing. A full size single serving of beer ran right around $8. Craft Beer Sampler’s were given this handy lanyard and each time a beer was given, the vendor would punch a hole along the bottom of the attached card.
If there was a beer that you knew you wanted a full sized serving of, the card would be punched 3 times.
The hubby and I narrowed down our dinner selection to Cecil’s Texas Style BBQ.
Here’s a look at the beef rib platter….as the hubby says…”AWESOME”
I headed over to the Florida Beer Company booth to pick up a Swamp Ape IPA and we found a table near the live entertainment to consume our dinner. I wanted to hold out on sampling another platter until after the Alan Jackson concert was over.
This was a huge portion of food and enough for us to share.
We could see that the Bayside Stadium was starting to fil to capacity so I decided to grab another beer before heading over to grab a seat in the arena. This time I went for the SweetWater 420 IPA.
We grabbed some of the last seats available in the stadium. This was about 20 minutes prior to showtime. Luckily, the right hand side of the stadium is where the talent comes out, so we were able to see up close and personal when Alan Jackson arrived on his golf cart to take the stage!
This was us pretty much the entire concert…
And these were the teenagers pretty much the entire concert…
Alan rocked it out to an overflowing stadium. There were guests who had taken up residence on the grassy knolls flanking either side of the arena.
The concert started around 5 pm and I expected it to end around 5:45 pm. Nope…Alan delighted fans for almost an hour and a half! I even got to hear my all time favorite Alan Jackson tune…”Mercury Blues”!
And all the fans were treated to another beautiful site that evening…
The concert ended around 6:30 pm which meant that I had a chance to grab one more plate of food from Cecil’s and another brew from the Bayside Pathway.
This time I opted for the pulled pork sandwich with a side of jalapeno mashed potatoes.
The girls got to get on Manta one last time and then it was closing time at 7 pm. Oh how I wished the park would have stayed open a few more hours later. I would have loved more time to listen to the local band play.
All in all, “Bands Brew & BBQ” was an excellent experience. As Florida Residents we had the option of buying a single day ticket for just under $100 and we could use that ticket to come back all year.
Tonight, Kid Rock will take the stage and leave guests just enough time to get to a television set to watch the Superbowl. I can’t wait to see what other talent SeaWorld will pull in for the remainder of “Bands Brew & BBQ” which runs for 6 full weekends through March 9th, 2014.
For more info visit SeaWorldParks.com.
Special thanks goes out to SeaWorld for providing us with complementary entry into the park. All opinions are my own.