For the millions of Myrtle Beach visitors who arrive by car, the city of Conway, South Carolina means the last town on Highway 501 before you can finally start your vacation.
Many have passed through it, but few take the time to explore the historic city. Well, here's your chance to see the oldest city and county seat of Horry County on one of its most exciting days – the May 2 Rivertown Music and Arts Festival. Held in the downtown district and along the Waccamaw River in Riverfront Park, this family-friendly festival crams a whole lot of fun into one Saturday.
Featuring live music, dance and theatrical performances on two different stages, the Rivertown Music and Arts Festival puts on a wide range of activities to appeal to all ages and interests. Hosted by Conway Alive, a local civic group designed to highlight all the city has to offer, this event has expanded in recent years to add a classic car show and a craft beer tasting to the existing mix of music, arts and crafts. Oh, did we mention food? There's tons of food too.
The party gets started at 11 a.m. when the curtain draws on the main and family stages, and the tent flaps are opened to row of arts and crafts vendors displaying their wares. The craft beer tasting and the vintage car show follow, along with fun and entertainment throughout the night. Here's a look at the full lineup and schedule for the Rivertown Music and Arts Festival:
Entertainment: The main stage opens with the Sally Woody Dancers at 11 a.m., DaVoices at 12:45 p.m., Knowhere at 2:30 p.m., the Steady Hand String Band at 4 p.m., PaperWork at 6 p.m., and headliner Kick the Robot at 8 p.m. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets for seating, when you're not dancing, of course.
Car show: The second year of the vintage car show promises to be even bigger and more popular than the first, when more than 100 cars were entered in the competition. The word has gotten out in hot-rod circles and even more participants are expected when the event starts at 3 p.m.
Craft beer tasting: Last year's inaugural craft beer tasting was a hit, and even more microbreweries from around the Southeast are expected to share samples of their product with thirsty patrons. Try the latest trends in brewing in the beer garden and vote for your favorite.
Arts and crafts vendors: Featuring some of the top artists from the local and regional scene, the Rivertown Arts and Music Festival attracts everything from big-name studios to small mom-and-pop shops to display their wares. Find jewelry, paintings, glasswork, sculptures and more. Food vendors serve everything from traditional state-fair foods to South Carolina delicacies such as chicken bog.
While you are in Conway, take advantage of the festival to check out the downtown district’s historic buildings and scenic riverside. Cross the bridge onto Main Street, which is lined with antique stores, cafes, boutiques and more.
Browse the city’s rich history, which pre-dates the Declaration of Independence and played a major role in the development of the Grand Strand into a worldwide tourism destination. The new Horry County Museum, the old Peanut Warehouse and the Riverwalk are among the many sites you can see within a short distance of the festival grounds.
In fact, a self-guided history tour of the downtown district is available using your cell phone. Who knows, maybe this time you will wish you could spend more time Conway before driving on to Myrtle Beach.