September 6, 2012 NorthMyrtleBeachOnline.Com - October is a great time in the North Strand. The temperatures are mild – still in the mid 70’s with night time lows dropping only to the 50’s and the humidity finally drops to tolerable levels. The sun mostly shines and the hurricane season is over. It’s great strolling weather.
That is why October is festival month. Throughout the area, communities organize to bring in arts, crafts and food vendors along with bands to showcase themselves in outdoor settings.
Nearby North Myrtle Beach, SC a community that puts on the World Famous Little River Blue Crab Festival is gearing up for the eighth year in a row to present the Little River ShrimpFest. Located along the waterfront of a working fishing village and among the ancient live oaks dripping with Spanish moss, the festival, which drew around 5,000 attendees last year for a one day event, organizers hope to draw 10,000 this year.
“The 2012 Little River Shrimp Festival will be held for two days this year – October 13 and 14,” said Cathy Altman, Event Director, “and we’ve added a lot of great new things.”
One thing that festival-goers may notice that it has changed its name. For the first seven years it was called the Shrimp and Jazz Festival, now the ShrimpFest. “We will still have jazz but wanted to provide a variety of music to appeal to a larger audience.”
On Saturday, festival-goers will start their musical experience with such diversity as local favorites’ Party Favor Band featuring Top Forty and Motown, for the kids will be Dino Capone's School of Rock presenting rock arrangements by aspiring young teenage musicians playing anything from AC/DC to Lead Zeppelin, the modern country genre is captured by the Austin Mowery band, Randy McQuay puts funk and soul on stage, Bibis Ellison, a local young lady from Socastee, offers selections from Etta James all the way to Adele , and straight from New Orleans, the ShrimpFest jazz headliner - The Stooges Brass Band - lots of horns with a funky jazz sound.
And that’s not all, according to Cathy. “On Sunday, Marlena Smalls and the Hallelujah Singers will take the stage. We would like to reach out to our local churches and offer them reduced group rates and parking for their church buses if they would like to come out Sunday morning and have fellowship - because not only will the group sing but Marlena Smalls will also preach and tell gospel stories.”
“We’d like to have a group that used to perform at the Blue Crab Festival every year. It’s called the Mount Calvary Baptist Number Two under Cheryl Livingston. They made you feel like you were in the movie Forest Gump. I want to put a special invitation out to those folks.”
The ShrimpFest differs from the Blue Crab Festival in various ways, it is smaller – only 125 vendors, a greater concentration of local arts and crafts, more music focused and, since of course the focus on shrimp, a shrimp and grits cook-off. “For $5 – and only to the first 200 people – you can sample all the competitors’ shrimp and grits. You will get maybe a four ounce serving and then the people vote for the favorite. We hope to get eight to twelve cooks. We have several celebrity judges coming – Cecil Chandler, Ed Piotrowski, Amanda Kinseth and have invited Natalie Dupree.”
Among all this activity, the children are not forgotten. ShrimpFest will have a children’s area with pony rides, bouncy house, face painting and lots, lots more.
Events like this don’t happen by themselves. Along with Cathy will be the Little River Chamber staff and about eighty volunteer who will make it happen. “It’s a great cause. All the money goes back into the community. The Little River Chamber funds the street lighting and the medium mowing through the community as well as the advertising to promote local businesses.”
Children 12 and under are admitted free and admission is $5. “Come out October 13th and 14th and, for $5 listen to some really great music, buy some arts and crafts and eat some shrimp and grits.”