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Grand Strand is hopping during the holidays

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/09/20/16/14/1izfW0.Em.138.jpeg|124
    JANET BLACKMON MORGAN - jblackmon@thesunnews.com
    A man stops to check out the Santa Through The Ages at the Dickens Christmas Show & Festival at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/09/20/16/14/NMSu2.Em.138.jpeg|210
    Stephanie Hutto - STEPHANIE HUTTO
    Broadway at the Beach kicks off the holiday season with an annual Tree Lighting Celebration. The musical tree of lights is 52 feet tall and has more than 141,000 lights.

The Grand Strand is bustling when the sun is hot and the water is warm. But the off-season has its own allure: Room rates dip dramatically, there are fewer tourists and lines shorten. Shopping and live-theater shows continue, and the area packs some great seasonal events.

The popular Dickens Christmas Show & Festivals Week (www.dickenschristmasshow.com) puts a Victorian spin on holiday shopping. Nov. 14-17, the Myrtle Beach Convention Center’s main hall is decked for Victorian-style holidays in homage to “A Christmas Carol,” and vendors garbed in Dickensian attire sell everything from jewelry and crafts to gourmet food. You’ll also see strolling Victorian musicians, Punch & Judy shows and other time-honored entertainment.

Ready to exercise? Colorfully? At the Nov. 16 Color Mania 5K Walk/Run at Barefoot Landing (www.colormania5k.com) participants – including kids – are awash in colorful biodegradable cornstarch.

Or, stretch your legs at Broadway at the Beach on Nov. 23 in the Grand Strand Jingle Bell Run/Walk. Participants in this fundraiser (http://bit.ly/17d9CL9) wear reindeer antlers and/or themed costumes, tie jingle bells to their shoelaces and run (or walk) a 5K route with their team.

The evening of Nov. 23 is when Broadway at the Beach (www.broadwayatthebeach.com) holds its annual Tree Lighting event. It includes holiday performances by the Carolina Forest Performing Arts Academy, Legends in Concert and others.

Golfing, by the way, is year-round on the Grand Strand. The Coastal Carolina ENA Tournament will be Dec. 7 at the Grand Dunes Resort course. (Details: www.enagolftournament.com).

And the beach never closes. Dec. 7, “Santa at the Beach” features Mr. C. at Myrtle Beach State Park (http://bit.ly/xJKeSr). In addition to holiday activities, there’ll be a Fanta-Sea Playland, with marine-inspired carnival games, races, storytelling and more. Jan. 1, the park, like many in the Carolinas, has a “First Day Hike,” a 1.5-mile stroll for adults that naturalists lead through diverse coastal habitats.

You can reach back into the past Nov. 2 at the Waccamaw Indian People Cultural Arts Festival & Pau Wau. The celebration of the area’s indigenous culture, held at the Waccamaw Indian tribal grounds in Aynor, S.C., on Bluewater Road, features demonstrations of native drum and dance, basket weaving and storytelling. There’s a traditional encampment, a fire ceremony and fry bread. (Details: www.waccamawindians.us.)

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