Mercury’s boiling for multitude of summer festivals

Not even one month since the summer solstice, a season of festivals and special events has barely gotten into second gear, so get ready for the scene and options for outings to get only hotter.

Surfing and water sports will occupy two sites on the weekend of Aug. 2-3. Besides the 15th annual Guy Daniels Memorial Surf-Off, a tradition in Surfside Beach that continues to make a big splash in scholarships for local college students, Empire Wake’s All-American Summer Wakeboarding Tour will make waves in the Intracoastal Waterway, at mile marker 377 in Bucksport.

Jeffrey Weeks, the new manager of the Bucksport Plantation Marina & RV Resort, said planning this showcase of wakeboarding the first day, and wakesurfing the second, began in later spring. He said the marina’s owner had wanted “to sponsor a big tournament,” with hopes of making it an annual event.

Attracting crowds of competitors and leisurely spectators for “an exciting two days,” Weeks said, also will give this marina about a 15-minute drive south of Conway, off U.S. 701, and “sort of back off the beaten path,” some new exposure.

The marina was host June 21-22 to the Outboard Drag Boat Association’s Grand National Drag Boat Races – Draggin’ on the Waccamaw. Weeks said that event ( www.odbaracing.com) and the tournament Aug. 2-3 each draw a different kind of crowd, and he sees the latter fetching a younger audience.

With a full-service restaurant, a campground that accommodates recreational vehicles and tent camping, as well as ample docking space, boat slips and vehicular parking, fans are welcome to “come for the day or come for the weekend,” Weeks said, noting that local bands will entertain.

“We will keep our eye on the future,” Weeks said, also eager to welcome concerts by “big-name artists” and with hopes to work with Empire Wake to add an annual college wakeboarding competition in Bucksport later this year.

Craftsmen’s Summer Classic

Gilmore Enterprises Inc. of Greensboro will bring its Craftsmen’s Summer Classic Art & Craft Festival for its 32nd year to the Grand Strand, Aug. 1-3 at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.

The family business’ advertising and marketing director, Carly Gilmore, said with about 220 artisan vendors signed up, it marks “kind of a big celebration for the end of summer and getting ready for going back to school and heading into fall.”

The company, with 10 shows annually across the Carolinas and Virginia, makes Myrtle Beach its only summer expo.

“We focus all our attention on the Myrtle Beach show in the summer,” Gilmore said.

From what she has seen at four spring shows this year, Gilmore said, the appeal remains traditional with “that back-to-America roots of being hand made,” coupled with being “progressive and contemporary in final ideas and products.”

“It’s a great mix of handmade products with a new contemporary spin on them,” she said.

Gilmore brought up two of her favorites at this show in Myrtle Beach:

Michelle McLaughlin with Motherbored, from Bristow, Va., with her “beautiful jewelry made of pieces of electronics,” Gilmore said, and Pam Lane, from Arapahoe, N.C., near New Bern, for her painted glass.

This Myrtle Beach show also mixes business and pleasure for this large “family” of participants, said Gilmore, who enjoys “seeing exhibitors coming from all over the country and being in this coastal city.”

“It’s fun to see them out at dinner,” she said, “and hear their stories on the beach from the night before.”

Church gets ‘peachy’

St. Paul’s Waccamaw United Methodist Church in Litchfield Beach will have its annual Peach Festival 4-7 p.m. Saturday.

Cindy Smith, director of ministries, said this fest, approaching a decade in tradition, raised more than $10,000 last year, and the funds were disbursed among various local charities.

“We love to try to promote that,” she said, “so folks know where the money goes.”

The festival lets attendees “get out with your neighbors,” Smith said, “and get something peachy.”

“Knowing that and being part of that,” she said, “it’s all about missions and helping people in the local community.”

The festival also marks another extended celebration, for the church’s new pastor who joined the church on June 25, the Rev. Pamela G. Ledbetter, “so this will be her first Peach Festival,” Smith said, reminding everyone of another offshoot from this weekend:

“We just love bringing the community together.”