The summer may be over in Myrtle Beach, but not the party. In fact, fall is the peak of the social season on the Grand Strand, when cooler temperatures and smaller crowds are all the more reason to throw a shindig. Here are five dates to circle on the remainder of your 2014 calendar, and five events and festivals this fall you don't want to miss:
Oct. 11-12, Little River Shrimp & Jazz Festival: The tiny fishing village of Little River throws a huge party to celebrate the fall seafood harvest. Held in the historic waterfront section of town along Mineola Avenue and the Intracoastal Waterway. Vendors and restaurants serve up lots of the festival honoree, fresh Carolina shrimp. Get it fried, grilled, steamed and in a wide range of dishes, including the popular Shrimp and Grits cooking competition. Live music and entertainment play on two stages during this two-day event, and the little ones can have a blast at the Kids Zone while the adults enjoy great food and drinks. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Oct. 21, Taste of the Town: Loosen up your belt and come hungry to the Grand Strand's social and culinary event of the year. For one night each year, more than 10,000 people flock to the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, which is transformed into the largest and tastiest dining establishment in town. More than 50 local restaurants serve their best dishes in tasting portions while visitors stroll throw rows of food and beverage vendors. Feast on grilled meats, fresh seafood, and tasty desserts, and be sure to vote for your favorites in various categories before the awards ceremony. Live music and entertainment are also on tap. The event runs from 4 to 9 p.m. Admission is $6 at the door and food tickets are $1 each.
Oct. 31, Halloween: The spookiest holiday on the calendar is celebrated at several venues on the Grand Strand. Barefoot Landing, Broadway at the Beach, Market Common and the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk are among the many places offering free trick-or-treating and other Halloween-themed events for children. The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk has live music and more, and Celebrity Square hosts the best adult costume contest in town. Admission is free to all trick-or-treating events and reduced admission is available for paid attractions on the Boardwalk
Nov. 1, Island Fever Music Festival: The thermometer may say different, but the calendar says it’s time for some island-style fun. La Belle Amie Vineyard in Little River throws biweekly events year-round, but this festival attracts a large crowd of die-hard revelers in tropical garb braving the elements and having a good time. Enjoy island music, tropical food and drink and a bonfire to keep your warm and in good spirits. Bring a blanket or lawn chairs and relax on the lawn around the outdoor stage. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $8.
Nov. 1-2, 8-9, Art in the Park: Arts and crafts vendors from all over the East Coast gather in Myrtle Beach on back-to-back weekends to display their pieces. In its 42nd year on the Grand Strand, this festival has earned a lofty reputation among both vendors and attendees looking to buy some unique items and gifts. The first week of Art in the Park will be held at Chapin Park in downtown Myrtle Beach, followed by two days at Market Common's Valor Park. Admission is free and the event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.