Myrtle Beach attracts vacation crowds throughout the year, but festivals there can connect you with others who have similar interests. Here are some key celebrations in the months ahead. All are staged in Myrtle Beach, unless otherwise noted.
May 5: Rivertown Music & Arts Festival, Conway. Local/regional bands play jazz, gospel, etc.; Area artists display pottery, wood, glass and paintings. Also: a classic car show. (www.conwayalive.com).
May 11-20: Myrtle Beach Bike Week. The annual Spring Rally is a major magnet for motorcyclists; vendors, bars and venues participate.
May 19: Beach Blast: The centerpiece of the month-long collection of MayFest events is the multi-act Beach Blast festival of contemporary Christian music. (www.visitmyrtlebeach.com/MayFest)
May 19-20: Blue Crab Festival, Little River, S.C.: The popular weekend event on the north end of the Grand Strand includes arts and crafts, music and food. (www.bluecrabfestival.org)
Memorial Day weekend: Theres free outdoor entertainment and a parade down Ocean Boulevard.
Memorial Day weekend: Black Bike Week: The big rally by African American motorcyclists is primarily in the Atlantic Beach area.
June 30: Riverfest, Conway: Its a pre-Independence Day festival downtown, along the Waccamaw River. Live entertainment, fireworks. (www.conwayscchamber.com/event/riverfest)
Aug. 31-Sept. 2: Beach, Boogie & BBQ Festival: The family-friendly gathering outdoor at Market Common has live music, South Carolinas official barbecue competition, arts and crafts, etc. (www.grandstrandevents.com)
Sept. 28-30: Atalaya Arts & Crafts Festival, Huntington Beach State Park: More than 100 artists will show and sell their works at the parks Atalaya Castle mansion. (www.atalayafestival.com)
Sept. 29: Irish Italian Festival, North Myrtle Beach: The spotlight is on the food and drink of both cultures. (www.grandstrandevents.com)
Oct. 9: Little River Shrimp and Jazz Festival, Little River: Its title says it all: Find the aroma of cooking shrimp and the sound of jazz along the waterfront on Columbus Day weekend. (www.littleriverchamber.org)
Oct. 20: Wooden Boat Show, Georgetown: Sure, theres music and food but the centerpiece is seeing more than 100 classic boats, from kayaks to yachts, along the boardwalk on Front Street. (www.hammockcoastsc.com/events)