Pop the cork, for another festival is back on the table for Myrtle Beach.
The Coastal Uncorked Food, Wine and Spirits Festival, last imbibed and feasted on by local residents and vacationers in 2012, is back for a fourth year, opening Monday for seven days, and in a new era, thanks to the Myrtle Beach Area Hospitality Association, a trade organization with members from the local lodging, restaurant, golf, entertainment, attractions and hospitality services fields.
Besides several local eateries taking turns with themed dinners on four nights, the “Brews’N the Boulevard” craft beer event, with samplings available for more than 75 beers by about 15 breweries from the country, will fill Friday evening in Myrtle Beach’s Plyler Park, and a “Tasting Trolley” will make rounds at eight establishments on Saturday, including a “Grand Tasting Tent Event” in the park, for samples from wineries nationwide. For each of these two weekend events, sales of tickets carry a 1,500 capacity.
Stephen Greene, the hospitality association’s president and chief executive officer, talked about the importance of turning Coastal Uncorked into the hospitality association’s signature event and highlighting the local hospitality industry’s culinary component.
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Question | What makes bringing back this festival special for a fourth year?
Answer | We’ve brought some old favorites back, such as the “Tasting Trolley” and created something new, the “Brews’N the Boulevard” craft beer festival, where ... we’re excited about being oceanfront, at Plyler Park.
Q. | What new direction will “Coastal Uncorked” take in the hospitality association’s hands?
A. | We want to use this as an opportunity ... to try to bring more culinary arts awareness, especially with Horry-Georgetown Technical College building a new culinary school. There’s also opportunities to raise money for culinary arts scholarships.
Q. | What has made this festival a Myrtle Beach tradition, and with so much potential to deepen its ties?
A. | With the “Tasting Trolleys” on Saturday, we’re looking at eight locations up and down the Grand Strand, and we’ll have the Grand Tasting Tent in Plyler Park, with 15 wine distributors. There will be various themed parties that will be at different resorts, even our local brewery, New South Brewery.
Q. | What teamwork goes into putting this grand weeklong celebration together?
A. | There’s a lot of coordination, but it’s a lot of fun. You get to play tourist, which we who live here don’t do a lot. For visitors, it’s a great opportunity to do some things they would not otherwise have the chance to do.
Q. | Just how many people share the credit for all the coordination of activities with the participating businesses?
A. | At the hospitality association, there’s the two of us on the staff, and many volunteers, and from there, a lot more people from the companies that we work with.
Q. | How will music have its own place at the events and dinners?
A. | We’ll have live entertainment for the “Brews’N the Boulevard” craft beer event, with The Revival that Friday night, and on Saturday, in the Grand Tasting Tent, we’ll have local bands there all day, in Plyler Park, from Austin Mowery and all different themes of music. ... Each place will have a theme.
Q. | How will each activity have its own identity?
A. | Each one is so different. One will have a beach party, and another will have Caribbean music. Each and every stop is kind of its own party within itself.
Q. | Could the timing for “Coastal Uncorked” this year be any more ideal?
A. | It’s a great kickoff to summer.