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On the Cheap | Festivals, food usher in summer

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We’re kicking off summer with festivals, free concerts and Memorial Day cookouts. Here’s a list of budget-friendly events that will take place over the next few weeks:

May 15-17

The Sounds of Summer Concert Series starts Friday at the Sandhills Bank Amphitheater at the North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex. Admission is free. The concerts will be held once a month from 7-9 p.m. through September. BrickHouse (R&B/variety) will perform Friday. Find the complete schedule at http://parks.nmb.us/Page.aspx?id=18.

The annual Myrtle Beach Military Appreciation Days Parade will take place Saturday at 10:30 a.m. The parade starts at 27th Avenue North and goes south on Ocean Boulevard to Ninth Avenue North. Admission is free. After the parade, there will be a picnic with music, military, exhibits and activities at the old Pavilion site. The picnic is free for all military personnel, veterans and their families. There also will be a free concert by the Austin Mowery Band in Plyler Park from 8-11 p.m.

On Saturday and Sunday from 1-8 p.m., Wicked Tuna in Murrells Inlet will hold a Wicked Brews & Tunes Craft Beer Festival. Admission is free. This event includes live music, beer tasting ($) and food for purchase.

The 34th annual Blue Crab Festival will take place on the waterfront in Little River on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $4 in advance, $5 at the gate. Go to www.bluecrabfestival.org for advance ticket locations and to print a free child/student pass. The festival includes live music, arts and crafts vendors, food and beverage vendors, a children’s area and more.

May 23-24

La Belle Amie Vineyard at 1120 St. Joseph Road in Little River is holding a Memorial Day Cookout on Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $3, but if you bring three canned goods to be donated to local food banks, they’ll let you in free. The festival includes live music, wine tasting ($), a gift shop, food and drink vendors, and a vineyard tour.

The town of Surfside Beach is also holding a Memorial Day Cookout. It will be on Sunday from 4-8 p.m. on Surfside Drive. Admission is free. This event includes live music, concessions and more. You may want to bring a chair.

JULIE HENRY is a freelance writer, editor and project manager. She owns and operates Myrtle Beach on the Cheap: www.myrtlebeachonthecheap.com.

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