Autumn is awesome here along the Grand Strand.
Throughout the season come some of the year’s most beloved local festivals and events.
There’s never a shortage of food or fun, with plenty of activities to be had and all ages usually welcome.
But enough about that stuff. We know why you come here. You want to hear who’s playing where and which musical lineup is worth checking out.
That’s why we’ve broken each of these 20-plus fall festivals down by their musical offerings (...with a little extra info to spare). Take a look and start making out your fall schedule now:
Aynor Hoe Down
• When: Sept. 17, 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
• Details: www.aynorharvesthoedown.org or 843-358-1074
• The music: There will be live entertainment from various bands, choirs and singers from 11 a.m to 6 p.m. and a street dance from 7 p.m to 10:30 p.m. featuring the Coast Runner Band.
• The rest: Since 1979, the town of Aynor — located just west past Conway on U.S. 501 — has been holding its annual Aynor Harvest Hoe-Down, a single-day festival for the whole family.
The event, sponsored by the Pilot Club of Aynor, now draws around 25,000 attendees each year including its beauty pageant and golf tournament.
Attendees to this year’s event can enjoy a parade (10 a.m.), hundreds of arts & craft vendors. In addition to the festivities and kids activities, food is always a main attraction with popular choices including Chicken Bog, Barbecue, Funnel Cakes and more.
Pawleys Island Music & Art Festival
• When: Sept. 18-Oct. 2
• Details: www.pawleysmusic.com or 843-626-8911
• The music: This event is full of music you wouldn’t necessarily hear normally on the beach. It includes festival headliners Spyro Gyra (Sept. 24), the Kickin Grass Band (Sept. 25), a performance by the Charleston Chamber Orchestra (Sept. 27), Ball in the House (Sept. 29), David Osborne Trio (Sept. 30) and The Hit Men (Oct. 1). See festival program here.
• The rest: This classy two-week affair is run by a non-profit group who aims to create and enhance cultural awareness and enrich the quality of life for south end residents and visitors by packing its run with quality performances, programs, and educational opportunities in music and the arts.
The unofficial start of the festival is a Wearable Art Luncheon on Sept. 15 at Tommy Bahama in the Market Common, where attendees aim to show off their best — and most unique — styles.
Other events include a Gallery Crawl from Murrells Inlet to Georgetown (Sept. 18), a Blues concert at Litchfield Golf & Beach Resort (Sept. 21), the 12th Annual Pawleys Island Wine Gala (Sept. 23)
The festival closes out Oct. 2 with a Family Day that features a Chalk Walk from 1 to 6 p.m., “The Musical Tale of Peter Rabbit” and a performance by Bits ‘N Pieces Puppet Theatre.
St. John’s Greek Festival
• When: Sept. 22-25
• Details: www.stjohn-mb.org
• The music: Staying true to its roots, this festival features plenty of authentic Greek music and dancing.
• The rest: It’s “Opa!” by the Ocean as the St. John's Greek Orthodox Church of Myrtle Beach celebrates its 20th Annual Greek Festival.
This 4-day event will be held outdoors on the Church grounds, located just down the Bypass from Broadway at the Beach at 33rd Avenue North. It runs Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Sunday from Noon until 7 p.m. Admission is only $1 for adults, and children 10 and under were free.
Though there are kids activities and plenty of vendors the main attraction at this festival has always been the authentic Greek food. Thousands come out each year to enjoy mouth-watering choices such as Gyros, Roasted Lamb, Greek Salad, Spanikopita and Mousaka, a wide assortment of Greek pastries and breads and Greek beer and wine.
Church tours and lectures about the Orthodox faith are also available daily.
Irish Italian Festival
• When: Sept. 24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Details: www.nmbevents.com/ or 843-361-3045
• The music: Three stages of live entertainment are highlighted by a performance from Ten Toes Up as well as music from King Shazaam, Mythica, the Kellee Irish Band and more (click here for full schedule).
• The rest: Cultures will clash in the pursuit of fun and food when The City of North Myrtle Beach and the NMB Aquatic and Fitness Center host the 8th Annual Irish Italian International Festival.
Around 20,000 attendees gather each year for this single-day celebration of European cultural heritage. Located on Main Street are street performers, art & craft vendors, and dance groups all adhering to an international theme.
An important part of each event with the restaurant competition where local eateries compete for the title of best entrée, best dessert, best decorations and more. Festivalgoers can also indulge their competitive side by entering their homemade spaghetti sauce to compete for the title of festival’s best sauce.
SOS Fall Migration
• When: Sept. 18-24
• Details: www.shagdance.com
• The music: This year’s entertainment includes the Mark Roberts Band and Legends of The Beach performing from 1-5 p.m. Sunday beside the OD Arcade while Monday will see Wallstreet, The Craig Woolard Band, William Bell and former Chairmen of the Board member Danny Woods performing from Noon to 5 p.m.
• The rest: For 10 days each fall Ocean Drive and Main Street in North Myrtle Beach become the center of the universe for folks who want to listen to music and partake in the official dance of South Carolina, the Shag. Known as the biggest adult party on the East Coast, the Society of Stranders Fall Migration serves a last blast of summer for Shaggers from miles around.
The heart of the event is many SOS lounges of North Myrtle Beach such as Fat Harold's, Ducks, Duck's II, the OD Arcade, & the clubs at the OD Beach & Golf Resort where some of the best Beach music bands in the world gather to play for enthusiastic crowds through the week.
Sept. 18-19 are the marquee days of this event known as Fun Sunday and Fun Monday, each marking a huge block party thrown in downtown North Myrtle Beach.
Atalaya Arts & Crafts Festival
• When: Sept. 23-25
• Details: www.atalayafestival.com or 843-237-4440
• The music: The musical offerings include several of area’s finest musicians such as Jimmy Buffett Tribute band Latitude, Northern Border, The Out-Of-Towners Band and Vocal Point (full schedule here).
• The rest: Every festival says they have arts & crafts vendors, but few focus on the aesthetic beauty of creation like this event, held for the 36th consecutive year at the famed Atalaya castle at Huntington Beach State Park — just south of Murrells Inlet.
Featuring more than 100 of the finest artisans the area has to offer encompassed by the great natural setting surrounding the famed Atalaya, a Spanish-style castle built in the 1930s.
In addition to the wares on display there’s plenty of Lowcountry food to keep you filled up. And even if you’re not down for a days of arts & crafts, this event can be a great chance to explore one of the area’s only state parks as admission to the area is free during the event (usually $5 per adult.)
The festival runs from noon to 6 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $6 for adults (children 15 and younger are free) and a multi-day pass is available for $10.
Fall Bike Week
• When: Sept. 28-Oct. 2
• Details: www.myrtlebeachbikeweek.com
• The music: Southern Rock, country and metal bands perform day and night at the various biker bars and the burnout pits stay busy throughout the weekend. Suck Bang Blow will host the following entertainment, while The Beaver Bar hosts Rebel Son, Bush Hawg and others. You can also bet most any bar within spitting distance will be hosting a live band to cater to the them of the weekend, so you may also check out spots like Southside Raw Bar, The Crazy Parrot, and Capt. Poo’s in Murrells Inlet, Causeway Raw Bar in Garden City, or Sundown and Surfside Live in Surfside Beach.
• The rest: The miniature version of the popular Harley-Davidson rally each May, Fall Bike Week still offers plenty of biker-friendly fun for motorcyclists from across the country.
The rally stretches the length of the Grand Strand, with events scattered throughout, but main focus is south end spots such as Suck Bang Blow, The Beaver Bar and Broken Spoke Saloon which cater to biker crowds year-round.
There are plenty of Poker Runs and other organized charity rides for those who just want to get out on the open road, while the Rat Hole in Socastee hosts daily biker rodeos with events including barrel racing, keg rolling, pudding wrestling and the ever-popular weenie bite.
Oktoberfest @ The Market Common
• When: Sept. 30-Oct. 2
• Details: www.myrtlebeachbeerfest.com or 843-712-2618
• The music: The weekend long event will feature authentic German Oompah band The Rheingold Band.
• The rest: Festival Promotions, locally famous for its Myrtle Beach Beerfest events, is presenting the fourth annual Oktoberfest at Market Common from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. a wide selection of German wines and beers, German food and children’s activities.
If you go, try the Founders Breakfast Stout. It’s one of the top selling specialty beers in the United States and will be featured at the Oktoberfest. The Breakfast Stout combines an abundance of bitter and sweetened chocolates, Sumatra and Kona coffee that thicken its 8.3 percent alcohol content.
Food and beer tickets will be sold at the festival for $1 a piece and beers range anywhere from two to six tickets. On Friday night at 8:30 p.m., festival goers can turn toward the sky to view a fireworks display presented by South Atlantic Bank. Authentic German food like Bavarian soft pretzels, bratwursts, apple strudel and potato soup will be available.
Ink Life Tour Tattoo & Music Festival
• When: Sept. 30-Oct. 2
• Details: www.inklifetour.com or 866-935-1822
• The music: The three day festival will feature a Battle of the Bands and performances by local and touring acts including a Saturday lineup with band paying tribute to Alice In Chains, Ozzy Osbourne, The Mizfits and The Cult (click here for more info).
• The rest: South Carolina’s first ever Tattoo conference will fill the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, 2101 N. Oak St., with a colorful crowd to close out September.
This artost-run event will have a tattoo competition, pole dancing competition, vendors and more than 100 tattoo artists from across the nation, including LA Ink's Amy Nicoletto. Many national tattoo magazines including Tattoo, Inked, Tattoo Society, Urban Ink, Inked girls will be on site covering the event and interacting with attendees.
Tickets for Ink Life Tour are $20 per day or $35 for a weekend pass and the event will take place from 1 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Conway Fall Festival
• When: Oct. 1, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• Details: www.conwayfallfestival.com or 843-248-1740
• The music: Live entertainment from Party Favor Band, Jim Quick & Coastline and The Embers.
• The rest: Started in 2010, the second year event is the city’s attempt at getting in on the fall festival fun.
Taking place in the heart of downtown, at 3rd Avenue and Laurel Street, this free event will feature an antique car show, kids play area, arts & crafts vendors and activities at the Farmers Market.
Little River Shrimp & Jazz Festival
• When: Oct. 8, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
• Details: www.littleriverchamber.org or (843) 249-6604
• The music: On what's shaping up to be one of the biggest days this fall for music fans, the Little River Shrimp & Jazz Fest will bring the star power with a headlining performance from Tim Reynolds, the lead guitar player of the Dave Matthews Band.
Also performing under the live oaks of the scenic Little River Waterfront will be New Orleans-based band Bonerama, bringing to life their unique style of Brass Funk Rock and a variety of local Jazz favorites such as Arlin Strader Trio, Grenoldo Frazier, Kat Daniels & His Rhythym Kings and Bernie Kenerson.
• The rest: In addition to the music, the 7th annual Shrimp & Jazz Fest will feature a bevy of great seafood, arts and crafts vendors, kids activities and more.
Ocean Boulevard’s Oktoberfest
• When: Oct. 8, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
• Details: www.myrtlebeachoktoberfest.com or 843-997-6695
• The music: Music is the main attraction here with a double bill of nationally-known headliners in alternative blues/hip-hop group G. Love & Special Sauce and funk/jazz jam band Galactic. In addition up-and-coming regional groups Crowfield and Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band will perform, along with Athens, Ga.-based songstress Lera Lynn, local party band N’Tranze and authentic German act Channelheimer’s Oompah Band.
• The rest: Focused on the revitalized downtown Myrtle Beach area, this street fair-style event takes over Ocean Boulevard between 9th and 11th Avenues North, with a large entertainment stage occupying the intersection where the former Myrtle Beach Pavilion once sat.
This event will also feature a Bratwurst eating contest, street peformers, a Bier Garden with a selection of German brews on foods, a Kidz zone and a fireworks display to close out the night.
Taste of the Town
• When: Oct. 11, 4-10 p.m.
• Details: www.tasteofthetownmb.com or 843-448-6062
• The music: With live entertainment ranging from ambient background tunes to full-on party music there’s something for all flavors of people. The lineup had yet to be announced as of this post, but will be listed here once it’s announced.
• The rest: What’s become known as the social event of the season for locals is also a great place for visitors to come and sample dishes from some of the more than 1,000 restaurants located along the Grand Strand.
With more than 50 of the area’s best eateries represented and serving sample-size dishes for between $1-5 each, there’s no better place to get a lot of food in one place.
Activities include an indoor kids area with a climbing wall and other activities. Admission for the event is $5 ($6 at the door) and food and drink tickets can be purchase for $1 each.
• When: Oct. 15, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
• Details: www.lorischambersc.com or 866-664-6030
• The music: The main event will feature live music from local acts as well as a headlining performance by up-and-coming country star Craig Cambpell, known for his 2010 debut single “Family Man” and current hit “Fish” (full story here).
• The rest: This week-long celebration held in downtown Loris — located north of Conway at the intersection of U.S. 701 and S.C. 9 — with a main event held the third Saturday in October each year. Now in its 32nd year, the Bog-Off is one of the area’s longest-running community events.
The festival will kick off with movie night Monday, Oct. 10 at the Loris Nature Park. Tuesday night is the popular game night with bingo and a spaghetti supper at the Center for Health and Fitness. Thursday night is a night of dining and dancing during “Dancin’ in the Moonlight.”
This year’s main event, which falls on Oct. 15, will feature a parade, a Chicken Bog Cook-Off, more than 200 vendors with arts and crafts, kids activities and more.
Harvest Home Weekend Festival
• When: Oct. 15-16
• Details: www.brookgreen.org or 1-800-849-1931
• The music: Event will feature live music and entertainment, square dances and more. Lineup has not been set but will be listed here once announced.
• The rest: The Harvest Home Weekend is Brookgreen Gardens’ annual celebration of the season which runs two days from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day.
For those not familiar with the south end’s National Historic Landmark, Brookgreen Gardens is a non-profit garden museum that display objects of art within a natural setting. Founded by Anna and Archer Huntington in 1931, the 5,000-acre area encompasses four former rice plantation and now holds the most significant collection of figurative sculpture in an outdoor setting by American artists in the world.
This family-friendly event is full of outdoor fun for kids and adults with activities such as scarecrow building, pumpkin painting and hayrides.
N.C. Oyster Festival
• When: Oct. 15-16
• Details: www.ncoysterfestival.com or 1-800-426-6644
• The music: This year’s headlining musical act will be S.C. native Josh Kelley who will perform from 4-6 p.m. Saturday. The lineup also includes local favorites Sawgrass, Beach music acts Jim Quick & Coastline, Sea Cruz and Craig Woolard Band and more. (full schedule here).
• The rest: Make the trip across the border for Brunswick County’s 31st Annual N.C. Oyster Festival located in Ocean Isle Beach on Second Street (beside the Museum of Coastal Carolina).
Each year, more than 50,000 attend this two-day event which pays homage to the marine mollusks which reside by the thousands in the coastal waters of Brunswick County. Activities include arts & crafts and food vendors, a 5K road race, a kid's area, the North Carolina Oyster Shucking Championships and an oyster stew cook-off.
Admission is $5 (free for children 8 and younger) and the festival runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Wooden Boat Show
• When: Oct. 15, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• Details: www.woodenboatshow.com or 1-877-285-3888
• The music: Though it may seem like a bit of an afterthought at this event that focuses on craftsmanship, there will be performances Charleston-based Bluegrass act The Blue Plantation Band as well as guitarist Rene Russell with Gary Hewitt.
• The rest: This unique event celebrates the spirit of the sea and showcases superb craftsmanship with an estimated 100 classic wooden boats on display in the water, along the historic waterfront in downtown Georgetown.
Vessels ranging in size from kayaks to yachts will be exhibited in eleven categories in an event that’s a must-see for anyone with an interest in nautical affairs. Visitors will be able to meet and talk to wooden boat craftsmen, manufacturers and owners and other maritime arts, crafts and models will also be on display.
This year's show will also feature a boatbuilding competition, kid's model building, boat raffles and food. Admission is free.
12th Annual Lip Rippin’ Chililympics
• When: Oct. 16, Noon to 6 p.m.
• Details: http://surfridergrandstrand.org/ or (843) 333-2034
• The music: Live music includes performances by some of the region’s best entertainers including Danielle Howle, Sawgrass, The Noseriders, Octopus Jones, Pur Cult and Ten Toes Up.
• The rest: Those ready to test their stomachs this fall will want to check out the 12th Annual Lip Rippin’ Chilympics.
Taking place on on the waterfront of the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk, this free event benefits the Grand Strand Surfrider Foundation, a grassroots, non-profit, environmental organization that works to protect our oceans and beaches.
The competition features entries from dozens of local restaurants and indvidual competitors who vie for prizes such as Most Original, Best Theme, Best Use of South Carolina Ingredients, Hottest Chili and Best Overall.
Samples are available to the public for $1 each, and it’s best to get there early as the best batches tend run out later in the day.
In addition to the food and drinks, there will also be face painting and inflatables for the kids, and various displays from local environmental non-profits, businesses and artists.
Myrtle Beach Wine Fest
• When: Oct. 22-23
• Details: www.myrtlebeachbeerfest.com or 843-712-2618
• The music: A lineup has yet to be announced for this year’s event but if last year’s event is any indication, you can expect some smooth jazz and probably some laid-back cover tunes with your wine sampling.
• The rest: If you’re the type who spends more time at dinner study the wine list than the menu, this is the perfect event for you.
The 2nd Annual Myrtle Beach Wine Fest will take place at Valor Park at The Market Common from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.
With more than 120 wine varieties from across the U.S. and around the world and 20-plus specialty vendors, there’s sure to be something for every taste. The will be plenty of food samples to soak up the alcohol while you savor 2 oz. samples which range from $1 to $6 in cost.
Admission is free, though guests wishing to sample will need to purchase a $3 souvenir wine glass to participate.
Endless Summer Festival
• When: Oct. 29, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Details: www.nmbevents.com or 843-361-3045
• The music: This street fair is held along Main Street in downtown NMB with a large stage that hosts a variety of entertainment at the famous “Horeshoe” area of town with a beautiful view of the ocean as a backdrop. Don’t forget to bring your beach chair to enjoy the music during this free day-long concert.
• The rest: As the weather cools down and we dip deep into fall, this event celebrates the fact that summer never truly ends here at the beach. It is the culmination of a series of special events hosted throughout the two-month long Endless Summer Celebration by the North Myrtle Beach Parks & Recreation Department.
There are plenty of vendors with one of a kind specialty craft items, food items galore, a classic & antique car show and a children’s area with inflatables, a community stage for dancers and singers and carnival rides for the whole family.
Carolina Beach Music Awards Weekend
• When: Nov. 9-13
• Details: www.cammy.org or (888)-323-2822
• The music: Since 1995, the Carolina Beach Music Awards — affectionately known as the Cammys — have been the premier event for Beach music enthusiasts across the country and beyond.
• The rest: Held in Myrtle Beach for the past 13 years, this four-day event is a weekend full of shag dancing and the sultry sounds of the coast.
Downtown North Myrtle Beach will be hopping as entertainers pack the various Beach clubs Friday and Saturday nights. Sunday, the community comes together for a Band Fair where musicians and fans get a chance to interact.
It that will culminate in the 16th Annual CBMA awards show at the Alabama Theatre on Sunday, Nov. 13 at 3 p.m., an event that honors the performers, songwriters, radio personalities, DJs, dancers, producers, engineers, promoters and others who have been integrally involved with the niche genre’s continued success.
Dickens Christmas Show
• When: Nov. 10-13
• Details: www.dickenschristmasshow.com or 800.261.5991
• The music: The options here are mostly limited to holiday music pumping through loudspeakers, however you are likely to run across and occasional strolling mistrel strumming out their tunes.
• The rest: Kicking off the holiday season on the Grand Strand is this annual event that will celebrate it’s 30th year at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
Step back in time to an elaborate 19th century holiday marketplace inspired by Charles Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol" with shoppers strolling through aisles featuring 350 costume-clad vendors hawking wares inclduing fine arts & crafts, imported gifts, toys, gourmet foods, clothing and more.
Entertainment features live puppet shows, performances by Victorian street urchins and an appearance from the jolliest old elf of all, Santa Claus.
In keeping with the true spirit of Christmas, the show offers numerous charities and non-profit organizations an opportunity to participate with fundraising programs that offer holiday foods from around the world, elaborate tree displays, wreaths and centerpieces.
S.C. State Bluegrass Festival
• When: Nov. 24-26
• Details: www.aandabluegrass.com or 706-864-7203
• The music: Acts such as The Grascals, IIIrd Time Out, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and Daily & Vincent will keep the crowds moving all weekend long with shows that run from 1 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Noon to 9:15 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9:15 p.m. Sunday.
• The rest: One of the premier displays of downhome Bluegrass music in the South, this 42nd annual event will showcase more than a dozen of the top names in the genre over three days of performances at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
Admission is $35 per day for adults ($85 for 3-day pass) and $20 per day for children under 15 ($5 for 3-day pass).