Fall Full of Festivals

August 2015
Written By: 
Paul Grimshaw
Bog-Off to Georgetown’s Wooden Boat Show—there’s something for everyone

Nothing can perk up a late summer and early fall day quite like getting out of the house and out into the sunshine or to enjoy the cooler evening breezes. Our area festivals are just starting to ramp up here in August and September, and once October hits, watch out—it’s on! From outdoor concerts to motorcycle rallies, beer, shrimp and reggae festivals, and almost everything in between, here are a few worth considering.

Coastal Uncorked Food, Wine & Spirits Festival
September 4–6
Celebrity Square, Broadway at the Beach, Myrtle Beach
Adult ticket $50 (3-day pass)
The fifth annual Coastal Uncorked Food, Wine & Spirits Festival includes live music, wine, beer, spirits and gourmet food sampling. Hosted by the greater Myrtle Beach Area Hospitality Association, this year’s event has been moved to Broadway at the Beach.

Beach Boogie & BBQ Festival
September 4–5, 6–9:30 p.m. Friday and noon–10 p.m. Saturday
HGTC Conference Center at The Market Common, 950 Crabtree Lane, Myrtle Beach
Free, www.visitmyrtlebeach.com
The name says it all—competitive beach games, live music and BBQ contests, plus arts and crafts, food vendors, a car show (Saturday) and beer and wine garden.

Aynor Harvest Hoe-Down Festival
September 19, 10 a.m.–10 p.m.
Downtown Aynor
Free, www.aynorharvesthoedown.org
Just a short road trip off the Grand Strand, the 36th annual Aynor Harvest Hoe-Down will include a 10 a.m. parade, arts and crafts, food, exhibitors, live music and plenty of kids’ events. Some 25,000 show up for this charming small-town celebration.

St. John’s Greek Festival
September 24–27, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Thursday; 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Friday & Saturday; noon–7 p.m. Sunday
St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, 3301 33rd Avenue Extension N., Myrtle Beach
$1 admission
The 24th annual Greek Festival at St. John The Baptist Church combines Greek foods, dancing, live music, kids’ activities and an eclectic gathering of artisans selling their wares. Craving homemade spanakopita, beef and lamb gyros or flaky baklava? Then this is your place. Don’t miss a tour of the church and its fabulous iconography on the walls and ceiling within.

Atalaya Arts and Crafts Festival
September 25–27, noon–6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sunday
Huntington Beach State Park
Adult tickets $8–$10. 15 and under admitted free. Free for Park Passport Plus members.
Considered one of the finest arts festivals in the South, the 40th annual Atalaya Arts and Crafts Festival is set at the Atalaya Castle in Huntington Beach State Park, oceanfront. Live music accompanies the event, along with food vendors and hundreds of artisans exhibiting and selling their works. (Not recommended for strollers or those needing wheelchair access because of uneven surfaces and narrow passageways).

Myrtle Beach Fall Bike Rally
Grand Strand
September 25–October 4
Mostly held just outside of the Myrtle Beach city limits toward Murrells Inlet, and to a lesser degree toward North Myrtle Beach, the Myrtle Beach Fall Bike Rally is primarily a Harley Davidson enthusiast’s event. You’ll find bikes and biker bars filled with rock ’n’ roll, burnout contests and more, so saddle up.

Pawleys Island Festival of Music and Art
September 25–October 17
South Strand
Adult ticket prices vary—see website.
Now in its 23rd year, this annual favorite festival in Litchfield, Georgetown and the greater Pawleys Island area combines outstanding musical performances, culinary exhibitions, wine tastings, gourmet dining opportunities, a variety of working artists and much more. This year’s musical guests include AJ Croce (October 2), Aaron Neville (October 3), Mike Farris (October 8), Natalie Douglas (October 9), Steve Tyrell (October 10), Ken Lavigne (October 15), Davis Johnson Orchestra (October 16), Good for the Soul Motown Tribute (October 17) and more.

Irish Italian International Festival
September 26, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Main Street, North Myrtle Beach
Free, parks.nmb.us
The 12th annual festival, sponsored by the City of North Myrtle Beach, attracts 15,000-plus attendees to sample international cuisine alongside corndogs and burgers. Live music, arts and crafts, and plenty for all ages has made this a popular event for locals and visitors alike.

Market Common Oktoberfest
October 2–3
Valor Park, The Market Common, Myrtle Beach
Free, www.myrtlebeachbeerfest.com
The eighth annual Market Common Oktoberfest will feature live music, a pumpkin patch, food and plenty of craft beers and domestic favorites. A family-friendly event, the festival will include games for kids, face painting and inflatables.

Surfside Beach Family Festival
Surfside Drive, Surfside Beach
October 3, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Free, www.surfsidebeach.org
Food, live music and family fun from the “Family Beach,” this popular annual event draws thousands. Especially kid-friendly, there are plenty of activities for little ones and teens. Arts and crafts and food vendors line Surfside Drive, which is closed down each year to accommodate the crowds.

Reggae Festival
The California Roots:
Carolina Session
October 3
Downtown Myrtle Beach, oceanfront
Tickets $70–$140
This rock-reggae festival will move from Wilmington, N.C., to the site of the former Myrtle Beach Pavilion. The ticketed event is expected to draw 4,000–5,000 attendees and is the first of its kind for the area. Headliners include 311, SOJA, Steel Pulse, Passafire and many others.

Myrtle Beach Oktoberfest
October 10–11
Downtown Myrtle Beach, oceanfront
Free, www.myrtlebeachdowntown.com
Billed as the “beach’s biggest Bavarian Boardwalk Block Party,” the festival draws tens of thousands to see national headlining bands and to drink lots of beer. See website for more details.

Little River Shrimpfest
October 10–11, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Sunday
Little River Waterfront
$5, www.littleriverchamber.org
The 11th annual Little River Shrimpfest combines the saltiness of the quirky waterfront district with plenty of food vendors and lots of live music.

Loris Bog-Off
October 17, 9 a.m.–9 p.m.
Downtown Loris
Free, www.lorischambersc.com
Attracting more than 35,000 attendees, the Loris Bog-Off Festival, in its 36th year, hosts national country music acts, local and regional talent, 200-plus arts and crafts retailers, and, of course, chicken bog. What’s “Chicken Bog” some might ask? It’s a Southern, some say South Carolinian, delicacy combining rice, chicken, sausage and spices with a number of minor variations. A highlight of the Bog-Off challenges chefs to create the tastiest bog in an annual contest for bragging rights. Fireworks close the event.

Market Common Wine Festival
October 17, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.
Valor Park, The Market Common, Myrtle Beach
Free admission (Sampling tickets available)
More than 40 wines from around the U.S. and the globe will be featured, along with experts to tell you what you’re drinking, plus 20 specialty vendors, food, beer and live music. A wine list is available at the website.

Wooden Boat Show
October 17–18, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Sunday
Front Street, Georgetown
Free, woodenboatshow.com
The Georgetown Wooden Boat Show features one of the best wooden boat exhibits with more than 140 classic wooden boats displayed on land and water, a wooden boatbuilding competition, children’s model boatbuilding, knot tying, maritime arts and crafts, food and music. A special attraction will be Saturday’s Wooden Boat Challenge when teams of two race to build a rowing skiff within a four-hour time limit and then test their boats for seaworthiness in a rowing relay on the Sampit River.
This is just a sampling of the many fall festivals that help make the Grand Strand a great place to live and play. Don’t take our word for it, go out and see for yourself.