PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — According to the Pensacola Downtown Improvement Board, Bubble Alley, the popular public art display made up of thousands of colorful vinyl bubbles, will be taken down on January 17.
The aerial display suspended over Intendencia Street between Jefferson and Tarragona was originally launched as part of 2022 Foo Foo Festival but became such a popular destination and “selfie” spot that the DIB made the decision to keep the bubbles up as long as possible. Now, after more than two months, time and weather fluctuations have taken their toll and the DIB said a scissor lift will arrive in two weeks to begin the removal process.
“Just based on social media shares, Bubble Alley has welcomed thousands of people to downtown Pensacola,” Walker Wilson, DIB executive director, said. “We always knew this was a temporary public art display, but we sure hate to see it go. Hopefully, we can give everyone a last chance to get their photos before Bubble Alley comes down forever.”
Wilson said that Foo Foo Festival events like Bubble Alley make a huge impact on small local businesses and the local economy by drawing people to the downtown core. And Melissa Smith, manager of Bodacious Bookstore and Café, agrees.
“It was great for our business. We saw a big spike that was both unexpected and appreciated,” said Smith, who said many who came in had never seen the shop or been inside before. “So many people who came in for the first time because of Bubble Alley are now coming back again.”
Alan Mandel, owner of AJ’s Market & Ice Cream at Southtowne, said he also saw business swell with the launch of Bubble Alley.
“This attraction has brought more folks to recognize AJ’s Market & Ice Cream than practically any other downtown event in the two years that AJ’s has been open,” said Mandel.
Wilson says that once the reusable bubbles are taken down, they will be offered to other groups that wish to create their own “bubble alleys.”