Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Things To Do
Terry’s Top 10: Things to do During the 10-day Holiday

Memorial Day is the traditional kickoff of summer for most of America. But in Myrtle Beach, where summer is king, it takes 10 days to start the season.

From the Friday before Memorial Day (May 27) to the final Sunday of the 60th annual Sun Fun Festival (June 5), it’s 10 full days of fun in the sun.

There are more events in Myrtle Beach during that span than you can count on two hands, but here are my top 10 things to do during the 10-day holiday:

10) The Military Concert Series will be held in downtown Myrtle Beach on Friday, May 27, with country music star Craig Morgan putting on a free show on the Plyler Park stage. Included in the show are an Army jazz combo, a Navy five-star band and a veteran’s presentation by Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Remembering our fallen soldiers is what the weekend is all about.

9) Friday night’s festivities are a kickoff for the Memorial Day Parade that gets started Saturday morning, with colorful floats and giant inflatables making their way down Ocean Boulevard beginning at 9:30 a.m. and ending at noon. The parade route, from 27th Ave. North to Ninth Ave. North, features McCain as the grand marshal and lots of cool cars and exhibits cruising the strip.

8) While floats are the vehicles of choice in downtown Myrtle Beach, much of the rest of the Grand Strand will be filled with motorcycles for the Atlantic Beach Bike Festival. Although the event is headquartered in the tiny town north of Myrtle Beach, the crowds usually spill out all over the Strand. Many special events are planned in connection with the motorcycle rally.

7) The 60th annual Sun Fun Festival gets under way Saturday with a full day of events downtown, including parachute jumps, celebrity meet-and-greets and concerts on the Plyler Park stage. The list of performers include Ariana Grande (Victorius’ “Catarina Valentine”), Emily Osment (Disney’s “Hannah Montana”) and David Archuletta (American Idol Season 7 runner-up).

6) The signature event of the Sun Fun Festival is the Miss Sun Fun Teen Pageant, which was featured prominently in the movie “Shag” and is so competitive that even letter-turner Vanna White of “Wheel of Fortune” fame once finished runner-up. Sunday’s pageant has been moved to the Academy of Arts and Science but still offers the same bathing-suit beauties and their many talents.

5) For those who want to celebrate Memorial Day in a little more manly fashion, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans minor-league baseball team will host the Wilmington Blue Rocks at BB&T Coastal Field at 7 p.m. Early arrivers can play catch on the field with their kids before the game and later-stayers can see the postgame fireworks show that rivals any of the other pyrotechnic displays on the Strand.

4) Party-goers get a brief midweek break before all the Sun Fun festivities return on Thursday and Friday, June 2-3. On the oceanfront between Springmaid Pier and Damon’s near 29th Ave. South, spectators can enjoy the H2X Jet-Skiing and Wake-Boarding competition for free. The event will feature stunts and races on the personal watercraft, sort of like Myrtle Beach’s answer to bicycle races.

3) Saturday features a full day of activities, including the inaugural convertible car show downtown, a meet-and-greet with the cast of “DC Cupcakes” and free concerts and other vendors along the Boardwalk. But the biggest celebrities will be on four wheels – the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard, Kit from Knight Rider and the dragster from The Munsters. No autographs, but they will pose for pictures.

2) Concerts and other acitivities will continue throughout the weekend at Market Common’s Grand Park throughout the weekend, but the biggest event will be Sunday with a celebration of a truly Southern snack – the Boiled Peanut Eating Contest. Lucky contestants will try to crack and snack as many of the gooey goobers as possible. It’s something locals do all the time without a competition.

1) The best thing to do over the 10-day, two-festival stretch that sees May melt into June isn’t an organized event, but may be the best attended of the week. It’s a time-honored tradition on the Grand Strand – a day at the beach. Slap on some sunscreen, pack a cooler and picnic basket and spend a day with family and friends soaking up the sunshine and cooling off in the ocean. That’s what summer is all about.