News & Opinion | November 9, 2020 6:30 am

Interstate Mullet Toss on Florida-Alabama Border Endures Despite Coronavirus

Some annual events involve music; others, dead fish

The Flora-Bama bar located on the Florida-Alabama border line
The Flora-Bama bar located on the Florida-Alabama border line.
Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images

Over the years, some events have become annual institutions. This can apply to sporting events, parades and festivals alike; imagine the sort of event that has its own subset of events associated with it and you’re in the right ballpark, so to speak. The coronavirus has disrupted these institutions large and small this year. Certain events that seemed impossible to cancel have, in fact, been canceled or postponed, their enthusiasts facing an uncertain future.

If you enjoy watching dead fish being tossed over state lines, however, you’re in luck. At The Washington Post, Hannah Denham reports that a longstanding tradition from the Flora-Bama bar has endured this year. As its name suggests, the Flora-Bama is located on the border of Florida and Alabama. Among its fans is Kenny Chesney, who once played to a crowd of 40,000 there.

Denham explains what the event was that drew so many people to the bar this year. “Flora-Bama’s Interstate Mullet Toss has been a springtime tradition for nearly 35 years: People wait in line for hours to test how far they can throw a dead fish across the state line,” she writes. How many people usually venture out for this? Around 30,000 over the course of 3 days.

This year’s Mullet Toss was originally slated for April, but was delayed until the fall for obvious logistical reasons. Denham’s article describes a raucous atmosphere — which, given the pandemic, reads a little alarmingly. Some of the attendees quoted in the article are looking for a catharsis, others are skeptical of the pandemic and still others brought marks and seek some kind of balance. Traditions can be surreal sometimes, but this one seems particularly fraught right now,