Nixed Sun Fun Festival in Myrtle Beach still popular among visitors

dbryant@thesunnews.comNovember 4, 2013 

Fans of the band Tru Sol dance to the music at the main stage June 5, 2010, at the Sun Fun Festival at Grand Park in Myrtle Beach.

RANDALL HILL — By Randall Hill / rhill@thesunnews.com Buy Photo

— The Sun Fun Festival is no more, but that didn’t keep visitors from voting it as a finalist for favorite event/festival in The Sun News’ 2013 Best of the Beach awards.

The festival, which had been an early summer tradition on the Grand Strand for 60 years, was a finalist in the Visitors Voices favorite event/festival category along with the Harley-Davidson Fall Bike Rally. The Blue Crab Festival was tops in the category.

The beach hasn’t had the Sun Fun Festival for two years. The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce nixed the early summer event – known for its concerts, quirky games, beauty pageants and food – because it doesn’t bring visitors to the beach as it did in its early years and doesn’t pay for itself, officials said. The chamber, the area’s main tourism promoter, said it wanted to focus more on luring tourists to the beach.

The chamber sought area businesses or sponsors to put on the festival, but none came forward. The last Sun Fun Festival was in 2011.

“I’m surprised the festival continues to rank high years after being discontinued, but it’s a testament to [the] festival’s brand identity and the many years of tireless devotion by volunteers and sponsors,” chamber President Brad Dean said in an email.

The chamber has shifted its role as a promoter of events rather than the producer of events, but is open to another group stepping up to bring the festival back, Dean said.

“We remain open to lending (or transferring) the Sun Fun brand and our marketing assets to help other organizations resurrect the festival,” he said. “We’ve discussed this opportunity with various groups and individuals but, as of yet, we’ve had no takers.”

The Sun News’ annual Best of the Beach contest gathers votes from locals and visitors to compile lists of favorite restaurants, golf course, stores and other businesses.

This year’s winners were released a week ago. Miss them? Check out the full lists at www.myrtlebeachonline.com/best-of-the-beach/.

Contact DAWN BRYANT at 626-0296 or at dbryant@thesunnews.com or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_dawnbryant.

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