While the official beginning of summer is still a month away, the Grand Strand can't wait to get the party started. That's why the 10th Annual Mayfest on Main Festival in downtown North Myrtle Beach marks the unofficial start of the season.
Held on Saturday, May 9, in the oceanfront section of Ocean Drive, this all-day street party puts everyone in the mood for summer with great live music and dancing in the streets. Food and drink booths, arts and crafts vendors and a Kids Zone area for the little ones to play are among the many activities of the day.
The fun gets started at 10 a.m. on the community stage in McLean Park, which will play host to performances by local youth and civic groups from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. But the headline acts will put on musical performances on the main stage in the Horseshoe section of Ocean Drive, which sits at the intersection of Main Street. With the scenic Atlantic Ocean serving as the backdrop, the main stage will host live music from noon to 6 p.m.
Classic rock lovers will never guess who this year's headline act is: The Guess Who. No, that's not a trick question, but a trick answer. The Guess Who, the Canadian band that famously rocked the US by jamming outside The White House gates with its 1960s anthem “American Woman,” will delight crowds of more than 15,000 with other popular hits, such as “These Eyes” and “No Sugar Tonight.”
Other acts appearing throughout the day include the Charlotte, NC-based band Blue Monday, which specializes in retro-1980s hits; Barbara Lewis, who sang classics “Hello Stranger,” and “Baby I'm Yours”; and beach music by the Carolina Soul Band, which is sure to have people shagging in the streets. Guests are encouraged to bring a beach chair or blanket for sitting between dance numbers. Pace yourself because the music continues through 6 p.m.
In addition to music and dancing, Mayfest offers other activities along the stretch of Main Street from the main stage to storefronts and parking lots. In addition to all the local restaurants and shops that will be open to accommodate the crowds, many of them holding sidewalk sales and lunch, dinner and drink specials, the festival area will have vendors serving food items, such as hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream and soft drinks.
Some of the area’s leading artists and craftsmen will display their wares, including artwork, apparel, jewelry, leather bags, wood carvings, and much more. Visitors can even take home a special keepsake to help remember the day. Mayfest T-shirts, hats and other souvenirs will be sold at select booths.
For young festival goers, the Kids Zone is the place to be. Featuring amusement rides, a rock-climbing wall, bouncy houses, inflatable attractions, pony rides and more, children can enjoy the fun and games in a carnival-style atmosphere. Teens and tweens also can get into the action with a handful of amusement rides.
For adult festival goers, the fun lasts well past 6 p.m., as the crowds head to some of the popular shag clubs in the downtown district. Live music and dancing spills over to Fat Harold’s Beach Club, the OD Lounge and Arcade, and the Spanish Galleon and last well into the night, yet another sign that the summer season is upon us.
The event is free and open to the public. Parking is set up at makeshift lots around the Main Street area, including at nearby McLean Park.