Snowbird festival planned for February in Myrtle Beach

dbryant@thesunnews.comDecember 10, 2013 

A festival catering to snowbirds with vendors and live entertainment is planned for February in Myrtle Beach.

Snowbird Fest, which will be free for those attending, is set for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 1 at The Hall at St. John’s, 3301 33rd Avenue North in Myrtle Beach, one of a number of events catering to snowbirds in early 2014.

This is the first time for the Snowbird Fest in Myrtle Beach, an event organized by The Snowbird Co., which lists winter rentals by owner in several states including South Carolina.

The company has had a similar event in Orange Beach, Ala., which drew 2,000 snowbirds during its second year in early 2013.

Myrtle Beach is the second city to host the company’s Snowbird Fest. Event Coordinator Paula Graf said she expects a similar trend here as in Alabama, where the event started with about 200 snowbirds the first year then ballooned to more than 2,000 the second year.

“We are attempting to get it off the ground in Myrtle Beach,” she said, adding that the website catering to South Carolina gets a lot of traffic, though she didn’t have specific numbers Tuesday morning. “[We thought] that might be the next best place to go.”

The event will include vendors such as restaurants, attractions and nonprofits, as well as entertainment by an Elvis impersonator and a magician, Graf said. She doesn’t yet know how many vendors will be participating because signups are ongoing; booth space is going for $185.

“It’s kind of a way to put local vendors... in front of the snowbirds,” Graf said.

Snowbirds, Northerners who spend the winters in the south to escape the harsh weather, have started arriving along the Grand Strand, though most will get here at the start of the year. The Grand Strand relies on snowbirds to help get through the slower winter tourism off-season.

The North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce has had a reception for snowbirds every year for more than a decade as a way to thank the snowbirds for contributing to the area’s winter economy.

“We appreciate our snowbirds that keep a lot of businesses going through the winter,” the chamber’s Charlene Lynam said. “They help the entire Strand.”

Hundreds of snowbirds have attended the chamber’s “We Love Our Snowbirds” reception the past few years, with the event featuring vendors, entertainment and door prizes. The 2014 event is set for 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 14, though the location is still being finalized.

The Snowbird Co., founded in 2002, caters to snowbirds through more than a dozen websites, most of them destination-specific for places such as South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida, that lists winter rentals by owners.

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

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