Large tar patties washed up with the tide for the first time on the beaches of Long Beach, Miss., west of Gulfport on Thursday. Cleanup crews collected the mess, and officials are hopeful that it was a one-time occurrence.

Tar sightings also were reported at beaches near Port Arthur, Texas, near the border with Louisiana.

Farther east, Jimmy Buffett's July 11 concert was still on schedule in Gulf Shores, Ala. The 35,000 free tickets were snapped up within hours.

Tourism officials in Panama City Beach, Fla., are preparing for Michelle Obama's visit Monday afternoon. The first lady will be briefed by city officials and local leaders on the impact of the oil spill. She is not planning a visit to Louisiana on this trip.

Panama City Beach launched a promotion this week to thank visitors for choosing to vacation there. CVB staff are randomly handing out "Certificates of Appreciation," which can be redeemed for a $25 gift card to be used at the Pier Park entertainment complex.

Resorts along Florida's west coast, thus far untouched by the oil, are taking no chances. Several have introduced special promotions, including Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa's Two Cents offer, a reference to the proposed increase in postage stamps. The resort will charge 2 cents for the third night of a stay. Reservations must be made by July 31 for travel from Aug. 22 through Sept. 30.

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