By Emily Smith
This October, the second seafood festival that earned Little River the moniker of seafood capital of South Carolina returns to the Grand Strand. The other, which is held earlier in the year to no less acclaim, is The Blue Crab Festival.
The Little River Shrimp Fest is held annually as the weather cools, prolonging the summer season of festivals and revelry. This October is the 16th year that the Little River waterfront will transform once more into an event grounds celebrating shrimp, live music, and community. This year’s celebration will be held Saturday, October 9, and Sunday, October 10, from 9am-5pm.
Although Shrimp Fest hasn’t been around as long as other local festivals, it has solidified its place as an irreplaceable one in Horry County.
What originally began as the Shrimp and Jazz Festival changed in 2012 in an effort to be more appealing to music lovers of any genre. Live entertainment has always been an anchor for the event, and since its evolution, the festival has consistently showcased bands from all backgrounds, including much beloved beach music.
Beyond live music is of course the delectable shrimp. Little River’s community developed through generations of fishing and shrimping, and it is an aspect of local history that is brought to the forefront and celebrated with this annual event. Although shrimp is never off the menu in these parts, its culinary role reaches new heights during the fest. The waterfront restaurants have another opportunity to show off the many delicious ways to prepare and enjoy shrimp.
Vendors will line the roads along the historic waterfront on both days, providing unique crafts, food, and local art. What started long ago as a mini art show, has, in recent years, exploded into more than one hundred vendors for a true street-style festival.
Mineola and Waterfront Avenue will both be closed to traffic during the weekend. Parking is provided in multiple off-site lots; shuttles will run back and forth throughout the event. In addition, a water taxi will run between Harbourgate Marina in North Myrtle Beach and the festival grounds. For $20, guests can park at the marina, ride the taxi, and gain admission to the festival.
Regular admission is $5 per day; children under 12 are free. Outside food and beverages are prohibited.
Visit www.littlerivershrimpfest.org to learn more about the event and see the entertainment lineup. The Little River Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center hosts additional information and can be reached at 843-249-6604.