No matter what order the words were formed to name this Labor Day weekend tradition, the Beach, Boogie & BBQ Festival continues loading up on all three parts.
The eighth annual edition of this family fest, benefiting the Omar Shriners and Shriners Hospitals for Children, opens Friday evening, continues all day Saturday and through Sunday afternoon. Events are spread across Myrtle Beachs Grand Park area, and in the soccer fields along Farrow Parkway, between Forbus Court and Meyers Avenue, across from The Market Common.
Amie Lee, president of Palmetto Event Productions, which coordinates the festival, said its become synonymous with celebrating a last salute to summer in Myrtle Beach.
Everyone loves great food, she said. Thats always en easy way to motivate folks to attend an event.
Each day boasts a competition, each with opportunities for the public to sample for a nominal charge: the Anything Goes contest for non-barbecue dishes, including desserts, on Friday, as well as the S.C. Barbeque Championship on Saturday, with its $10,000 grand prize, and Best Wings on the Beach Sunday.
Lee said besides South Carolina, barbecue competitors will travel from Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee. She said the cooks and their artistry on the grill will be based in a field along Farrow Parkway at Forbus Court. Look for the main stage for entertainment at Farrow and Meyers Avenue.
To expand the footprint of this event, Lee said, utilizing more space outward from Grant Park gives the festival about 21/2 times more room, making, for instance, the barbecuers more visible, and the main stage proximate to all activities. The expansion of the layout also makes loading in and out easier for all the vendors, she said.
Lee said outside of tickets for contest entry samples and for meals, most of the activities, such as all the concerts, are free, one of the many benefits of the festival.
For a family thats on a budget, she said, the festival remains affordable, especially because children 6 and younger are welcome to sample the competitors food on Saturday afternoon for free, and the samples for Anything Goes contest Friday are $1 a ticket.
Shriners gift to children
A big, important benefit and public service of this festival remains the connection with Shriners Hospitals for Children, the nearest site of which operates in Greenville. Noon-4 p.m. Saturday, physicians and staff will be on hand for free screenings for children of any age, and youth who later are accepted and qualified for treatments can receive coverage for all medical expenses and transportation.
For a lot of families, thats a life-changing thing, Lee said, noting the never-ending need for such valuable services.
That tie-in with charity, along with festival affordability for families, triples the output for Beach, Boogie & BBQ.
You can eat great food and still be able to give back to the community, Lee said.
Going over some other festival highlights, Lee says the turnout for free slices on Sunday, the closing day every year, amaze her.
Who doesnt love watermelon? she said, great summer staple, especially in a hot destination.
Flyboard demonstrations will complement the wakeboard showings Saturday on the Grand Park lake.
Describing the former, Lee said, Its almost like flying on water. Its really, really cool.
Bands open up
The roster of bands spanning the three days includes up-and-coming acts as well as some tried-and-true favorites and regional players, Lee said, and a nationally known sextet, The Embers, from Raleigh, 8-9:15 p.m. Saturday, before fireworks.
John Tomlinson, who handles Embers bookings, said the group keeps up with outdoor concerts until it gets too cold, but that the beach music goes all year long for the band.
For this big, end-of-summer gig in Myrtle Beach, Tomlinson said expect the band to play more party songs than usual.
His brother, Bobby Tomlinson, the drummer, said the group formed in 1958.
We started off in high school, Bobby Tomlinson said, and back in those days, it was only AM radio. There wasnt any FM.
He estimated The Embers, drawn to rhythm and blues since they heard such artists on WLAC-AM from Nashville, Tenn., have played more than 14,000 concerts in 55 years, and that the Grand Strand has commanded a chunk of those since the late 1960s and early 70s, including 10-week-long summer streaks for 10 years at the Landmark Resort in Myrtle Beach, and of late, various dates in North Myrtle Beach.
Bobby Tomlinson said he remembered playing a site in the 1960s on what is now Restaurant Row, just north of Myrtle Beach, where almost nothing else there, and wintertime with sand on the roads, when the area was more or less just a vacation spot, instead of a year-round busy place into which it has grown.
I love Myrtle Beach, he said, treating the end of summer as just another day.
He said R&B, which later came to be known as beach music as its artists gradually got on the radio, beyond jukeboxes and nightclubs, has evolved.
Were still playing beach music, he said. Thats our first love.
And those notes entertain folks at any time of the year.
The beach music keeps rolling outside till it gets cold, Tomlinson said, and its staying warmer for a while longer.
Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764.