Celebrating the nation’s 240th birthday won’t have to wait until Independence Day on Monday.
Numerous Grand Strand events kick off on Saturday, such as the 33rd annual Murrells Inlet Fourth of July Boat Parade, in a “Salute Our Military” theme, at 5 p.m. The highly decorated procession will sail south from Garden City Beach Point to Morse Park Landing.
Lee Hewitt, a parade co-chairman who helped establish this annual tradition, said this marks its first time ever it will not sail on the actual holiday, after tide schedules prompted a tweak in scheduling for 2016.
He said for July 4, the boat parade would need start at 7 a.m. or 7 p.m., which would be too early or too late. He explained that with this two-hour parade ending “too close to dark,” boater safety would would be challenged, especially to get vessels out of the water and back to dockage, especially with proximate creeks “getting so shallow now.”
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So, with the event to usher in Saturday night, the parade will finish up by about 7 p.m., Hewitt said, still with ample daylight left for participants to stow everything safely before sunset.
Looking back at the parade’s first 33 years, Hewitt said coordinators appreciate how “the crowds get bigger and bigger” and past recognition of the event through a feature in Parade magazine and on “CBS This Morning” TV show.
“I get calls every year,” Hewitt said, “from people around the country, with magazines and newspapers covering unique Fourth of July celebrations. It’s the uniqueness of it, and such a family event. ... It’s also been a great fundraiser for Boy Scout Troop 396, through T-shirt sales.”
The “Pawleys Island Fourth of July Evening Celebration,” with the Pawleys Island Concert Band, has charted a course in becoming an Independence Day staple for the community. The sixth annual outing, is 6-8 p.m. Monday inside the Precious Blood of Christ Catholic Church Parish Life Center, 1633 Waverly Road.
Len Vercellotti, concert co-chairman, and the band’s treasurer, said this event began in 2011, after an inquiry from the church’s Knights of Columbus Assembly 3272 leader to have a celebration involving the band. Because of midday festivities including the then-second year of the “Salute from the Shore” fly-by along the S.C. shoreline, the evening event emerged as a partnership.
“The Knights Assembly has as its principle, ‘Patriotism,’” Vercellotti said, “and we wanted to commemorate the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and say, “Thank you for your service.’ We also wished to pay tribute to our police and firemen, who ensure our safety and security here at home. So we put together some patriotic music and readings that emphasized the blessings of freedom that we all share in the United States of America.”
Vercellotti said the band, led by Carson Turner – who served 17 years in the Army, including Operation Desert Storm – will close the night by rousing up Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.”
Other Independence Day events in the area include the seventh annual “Salute from the Shore,” with everyone encouraged to dress in red, white and blue to line the ocean beaches at 1 p.m. Monday to wave at a swift air parade of F-16 fighter jets and vintage military aircraft, heading southwest from Cherry Grove Beach all the way to Bluffton, near Hilton Head Island.
Also, Croissants Bistro & Bakery in Myrtle Beach, will stage its fifth annual “Fourth of July Cupcake Eating Contest,” 2-4 p.m. Monday, in Broadway at the Beach’s Heroes Harbor area, on 29th Avenue North in Myrtle Beach. This will afford the eatery more space for this competition for adults to devour as many cupcakes as they can in five minutes for a $500 cash prize, in a repeat fundraiser for the Reggie Sanders Foundation. Its namesake is a Florence native and Myrtle Beach resident who played 17 years as a Major League outfielder, and who oversees this charity helping families with children with autism.
In the 2015 contest, among 48 entrants, three men tied for first place, each consuming 22 cupcakes, prompting a two-minute, sudden-death playoff. Steven Schuster took the ultimate cake, winning with 33 consumed in all.
Contact STEVE PALISIN at 843-444-1764.
If you go
▪ At Broadway at the Beach, bordered by U.S. 17 Bypass, Robert M. Grissom Parkway and 21st and 29th avenues North in Myrtle Beach: fireworks at 10 p.m. Friday) and Monday, as part of its annual “Summer Nights”; and free concerts by Army Ground Forces Concert Band at 7 p.m. Sunday in Center Court, and U.S. Air Force Blue Aces Band at 8 p.m. Monday on Heroes Harbor stage. 843-444-3200, 800-386-4662 or www.broadwayatthebeach.com.
▪ Annual “Independence Day Celebration” to benefit Muscular Dystrophy Association, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at Myrtle Beach Harley-Davidson, 4710 S. Kings Highway, just south of Myrtle Beach city limits and Seagate Village neighborhood. Free, including music by Crashbox Down, performances by Cape Fear Circus Arts, and face painting by Gracie the Clown. 843-369-5555 or www.myrtlebeachharley.com.
▪ “Independence Saturday Celebration,” 1-5 p.m. Saturday, including music 1-5 p.m. by Sunburst Radio Band, at La Belle Amie Vineyard, 1120 St. Joseph Road, Little River, just west of North Myrtle Beach Middle School. $3. Also, bring two canned/dry good items for food bank, for free admission. 843-399-9463 or labelleamie.com.
▪ At Barefoot Landing, on U.S. 17 in North Myrtle Beach: free concerts by U.S. Army Ground Forces Band at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, and U.S. Air Force Blue Aces Band, 3:30 p.m. Sunday, both in Lakeview Courtyard, near Barefoot Amusements and Castano’s Italian Steakhouse; and fireworks, as part of annual “SummerFest!” 10:15 p.m. Monday. 843-272-8349 or www.bflanding.com.
▪ Second annual American Celebration Concert, by Myrtle Beach Wesley Chancel Choir and Friends, 4 p.m. Sunday at First United Methodist Church, 901 N. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach. Free. 843-448-7164.
▪ Festival Promotions’ “Independence Day 8k/5k/1-mile” runs, 7:30 a.m. Monday from Myrtle Beach’s Valor Memorial Garden, at The Market Common, for $35 by Sunday, otherwise $40 race day on site. Also: 5k ($30 and $35, respectively) and 1 mile ($17 or $20). 843-267-7443 or www.myrtlebeachfestivalpromotions.com/independence-day-8k/.
▪ Croissants Bistro & Bakery’s fifth annual “Fourth of July Cupcake Eating Contest,” 2-4 p.m. Monday, at Broadway at the Beach Heroes Harbor area, on 29th Avenue North in Myrtle Beach, with contest at 3 p.m. for adults, given five minutes to eat as many cupcakes as they can, for $500 cash top prize, in benefit for Reggie Sanders Foundation, helping families with children with autism (reggiesandersfoundation.org) – enter for $25 at croissants.net/2016-cupcake-contest. More details from Criossants, based at 3751 Robert M. Grissom Parkway, Myrtle Beach, at 38th Avenue North, at 843-448-2253.
▪ Annual Garden City Beach Golf Cart Parade, 2 p.m. Monday, with lineup at 1 p.m. using same route as in previous years, going from parking lot behind Willard’s Fireworks, 2021 U.S. 17 Business, then heading east on Calhoun Drive, then left (north) on North Dogwood Drive, and west (left) on Woodland Drive. 843-340-5835 or www.facebook.com/Gardencitygolfcartparade/.
▪ Annual Fourth of July dinner cruise on Barefoot Princess Riverboat, 6-8 p.m. Monday from Barefoot Landing Marina, on U.S. 17 in North Myrtle Beach. $44 ages 11 and older, $25 ages 2-10, and free for lap children, ages 1 and younger. 843-272-2140, 843-272-6796 or www.mbriverboat.com.
▪ Town of Surfside Beach annual Fourth of July Celebration, 6-10 p.m. Monday at Surfside Beach Pier, 11 N. Ocean Blvd., at Surfside Drive. Free, including entertainment by “Garth & Friends,” then fireworks at 9:30 p.m. 843-650-9548 or www.surfsidebeach.org.
▪ Firewoks, 10 p.m. Monday, off Second Avenue (North) Pier, as part of annual “Hot Summer Nights,” by Oceanfront Merchants Association. 843-779-2662 or www.myrtlebeachdowntown.com.
Horry and Georgetown counties
▪ Seventh annual “Salute From the Shore,” with flyover with vintage military aircraft, and F-16 fighter jets from S.C. Air National Guard’s 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base in Hopkins, flying along Atlantic Ocean coast from Cherry Grove Fishing Pier at 1 p.m. Monday, southwest to Bluffton within the hour. Everyone’s asked to line beaches, wave flags, wear red, white and blue attire, and decorate in patriotic colors. salutefromtheshore.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
▪ 33rd annual Murrells Inlet Fourth of July Boat Parade, in “Salute Our Military” theme, 5 p.m. Saturday sailing south from Garden City Beach Point to Morse Park Landing. Free to see; $5 entry per boat (details at 843-241-5222); fireworks 10-10:20 p.m. Monday from MarshWalk area, on U.S. 17 Business; and “Inlet Cleanup,” for which volunteers sought –Meet 3 p.m. Tuesday at Murrells Inlet 2020 preservation group office, 4124 U.S. 17 Business. 843-357-2007 www.murrellsinletsc.com and www.marshwalk.com.
▪ Sixth annual “Pawleys Island Fourth of July Evening Celebration,” with Pawleys Island Concert Band (843-274-5991 or www.pawleysislandconcertband.org), 6-8 p.m. Monday in Precious Blood of Christ Catholic Church Parish Life Center, 1633 Waverly Road, Pawleys Island. Free. 843-235-9931.
▪ 20th annual Independence Day Concert by Indigo Choral Society, 7-8:30 p.m. Monday on Kaminski House Museum lawn, 1003 Front St., Georgetown, for free (843-546-7706 or www.kaminskimuseum.org), before Georgetown city fireworks, 9 p.m. downtown over Winyah Bay (www.historicgeorgetownsc.com).
In North Carolina
▪ Annual “Fourth of July Celebration at the Old Bridge,” 9 a.m. Monday at Old Bridge Museum, 109 Shoreline Drive W., Sunset Beach, with everyone of any age invited to join parade with decorated bicycles, tricycles, wagons, strollers or sneakers to roll or walk across Old Bridge; then after parade, take part in contests and activities. Free. Also: dedication and installation of stained glass piece – depicting Old Bridge and Tender House as it was in Intracoastal Waterway – 5 p.m. July 12 in museum’s tender house window. 910-363-6585 or oldbridgepreservationsociety.org.
▪ Annual N.C. Fourth of July Festival, with events Friday-Monday in downtown Southport, including on Monday: parade 11 a.m., from Moore and Howe streets (and later shown 8-9 p.m. on WECT-TV 6 of Wilmington – www.wect.com), “Shine & Show Classic Cars,” by Cape Fear Cruisers club, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Bay Street, by Waterfront Park; and fireworks, 9-9:30 p.m. 910-457-5578 or www.nc4thofjuly.com.
If you watch
WHAT: 36th annual “A Capitol Fourth”
WHEN: 8-9:30 p.m. Monday, and repeating 9:30-11 p.m.
WHERE: From west lawn of U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., airing on PBS:
▪ ETV across South Carolina (www.scetv.org), including WHMC-TV 23 of Conway and WITV-TV 7 of Charleston.
▪ UNC-TV across North Carolina (www.unctv.org), including WUNJ-TV 39 of Wilmington, N.C.
WHO: Tom Bergeron, host, with singers Gavin DeGraw, Jackie Evancho, Kenny Loggins, Cassadee Pope, Alisan Porter, and Smokey Robinson; actress-singers Sutton Foster and Amber Riley, and cast of Broadway musical “On Your Feet!” (about Gloria and Emilio Estefan).
ALSO WITH: The National Symphony Orchestra, led by Maestro Jack Everly; Choral Arts Society of Washington; Patrick Lundy & The Ministers of Music; U.S. Army Herald Trumpets; U.S. Army Ceremonial Band; and special segments for 75th and 100th anniversaries of USO and National Park Service, respectively.