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If you’re looking for a good time during the final days of summer and early days of fall, look no farther than North Myrtle Beach. From free concerts and movies to dance and heritage festivals, North Myrtle Beach has a full calendar of fun set for August, September and beyond. Here are five you don’t want to miss:
* Movies at McLean: The August installment of the monthly free outdoor movie series will be held Friday, Aug. 8 with a showing of "Despicable Me 2." The movie starts shortly after sundown and guests are asked to bring a blanket or beach chair for seating on the spacious park lawn. Popcorn and other refreshments are available and all movies are family-friendly. Future featured films include Frozen (Sept. 12) and Hotel Transylvania (Oct. 10).
* Music on Main: The summer-long concert series goes double duty to close out the season, with the schedule expanded to two and even three nights a week over the final month. All concerts take place in the historic Horseshoe section of downtown North Myrtle Beach. Admission is free and guests are asked to bring chairs. The upcoming monthly schedule includes The Wannabees (Aug. 7), Gary Lowder & Smokin' Hot (Aug. 14), Too Much Sylvia (Aug. 15), Paperwork (Aug. 19), Carolina Soul Band (Aug. 21), Tastes Like Chicken (Aug. 26 and Atlantic Groove (Aug. 28). The event continues through September. All shows start at 7 p.m.
* SOS Fall Migration: Save Our Ship? Not this crew. In this case, SOS stands for Society of Stranders, a group dedicated to preserving the state dance, the shag. Born on the Carolina coast during the 1950s and '60s, the shag created generations of fans who return to North Myrtle Beach to take a stroll down memory lane. The invasion begins on Sept. 12 and runs through the weekend. The official headquarters is the OD Resort in the heart of the downtown district, but the celebration spills over into surrounding dance clubs with live beach music and, of course, lots of dancing. Don't know how to shag? No problem. There are always lots of shaggers willing to teach a rookie.
* 11th Annual Irish Italian Festival: Talk about a melting pot. This festival features two prominent local heritages combining for one unique celebration of Irish and Italian culture, arts, music, food and more. Feast on Italian sausages, meatballs, lasagna from the Italian food vendors and wash it down with a glass of wine, or try some fish and chips or shepherd’s pie with a tall glass of Guinness. Check out the live music and entertainment on two stages, plus street performers, arts and crafts vendors and fun and games for the kids. The event is held downtown on Main Street from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 27.
* La Belle Amie Vineyard: Located just across the North Myrtle Beach city limits in Little River hides a small family winery that knows how to put on a party. On alternating Saturdays through November, La Belle Amie opens its gates to visitors, great bands and excellent food and drinks for a picnic party on the lawn. Upcoming events include the Whole Lotta Shakin’ Oldies Music Fest (Aug. 16), Summer Breeze Music Fest (Aug. 30), Dog Days Blues & Jazz Fest (Sept. 13), Autumn Big Band Blast (Oct. 4), Rock Back The Clock Music Fest (Oct. 18), Island Fever Music Fest (Nov. 1), WineStock (Nov. 15) and the Holiday Spirits Bonfire (Nov. 29). All events are held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and admission is $8 for adults.
(photo courtesy: La Belle Amie Vineyard)