August 8, 2014

Blue Crab festival looking forward to a sunny future

A common attribute in show business is that “the show must go on.” That’s the mindset in Little River too.

A common attribute in show business is that “the show must go on.” That’s the mindset in Little River too.

After threats of cancellation sent supporters of the Blue Crab Festival reeling to re-organize, the event went on without missing a year and with something to talk about.

“2014 was one of our best years yet” said Horry County Councilman for District 1, Harold G. Worley.

As previously reported by The Sun News, the call to cancel came after “a group led by former festival chairman Allen Lee sent a letter to Little River business owners in November 2011 saying that the following year’s Blue Crab Festival would not be held so the committee could “address issues such as [the] number of vendors the festival can accommodate, selection, placement and set up of vendors/exhibitors, vendor parking, entertainment, transportation and security”

“The [festival] board decided last month to put last year’s profit in reserve,” said Worley in a news report from January 12, 2013.

Worley, who opposed taking a year off from the festival stepped in to establish the new Blue Crab Board.

The new committee/board of directors took over ownership of the festival and established non-profit status as 501c3 in an effort to “ensure it (the festival) will go on in perpetuity” Jennifer Walters quoted Worley as saying.

Walters is Executive Director of the Little River Chamber of Commerce and she noted that after almost thirty-four years, the festival has become “intergenerational”

“We went as kids and now our kids are taking their kids”, she said.

Now, future generations need not worry.

“We have a good group dedicated to the festival’s well-being”, Worley said.

Walters also explained the re-organized structure “ensures that no one can decide to take a year off or move the festival away from Little River”, she said. “It stays where it should be”

With the assistance of Little River Chamber of Commerce to manage funds, Worley also said the new board of directors is “very, very pleased”

Both Worley and Walters confirmed that “between $60,000 and $70,000” was available to be turned over to the chamber after the 2014 festival.

Dubbing the Little River chamber as the “good stewards of festival revenues,” Walters explained the chamber is also responsible for the bulk of mowing and median maintenance in Little River and reliant on funds from the festival for upkeep of the unincorporated little town with the big festivals.

Little River also sponsors a Shrimp and Jazz Fest in October, but the Blue Crab Festival is “our biggest fundraiser”, Walters said

“We set aside $15,000 (right away) to reinvest into community improvement projects.”

With ShrimpFest slated for October 11-12, ShrimpFest 2014, the ongoing purpose of the fundraisers is to “raise money to help support the community, local organizations and it’s residents.”

The Blue Crab Festival site @bluecrabfestival.org boasts something for everyone including a beauty pageant and a 5K run along the waterfront.

The two-day festival which began in 1981 as a “small waterfront gathering” has grown into a premier event “attracting local and visitors from all over the country” , the site said.

“If it was cancelled (even for a year) that would be the end (of the festival)” said Worley.

Forced to face it’s financial foes, Little River ensured the show would go on – to perpetuity and beyond – much like Los Angeles did when an aftershock shook the city prior to the 66th annual Academy Awards in 1994.

In 2015 the festival formerly known as Blue Crab will return as the now “World Famous Blue Crab Festival”

“We’re in great shape financially and doing very good,” said Worley.

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