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From Bog to Hoe-Downs, it’s celebration time

If you think that fun along the Grand Strand ends when the charcoal of Labor Day barbecues turn to ash, you are severely mistaken. The shortening of days and the cooling of nights (not to mention the thinning of tourist hordes) signal the start of fall festival season. Now is the time when we can enjoy the temperate weather and celebrate harvest time in the Lowcountry.

Aynor Harvest Hoe-Down FestivalSept. 18, 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.Sponsored by the Pilot Club of Aynor and the Aynor Area Chamber of Commerce, the Aynor Harvest Hoe-Down Festival celebrates its 31st year. Centered around Aynor Park, the festival features the Miss Harvest Hoe-Down Pageant, the ever-popular parade, antique tractors, arts and crafts, entertainment, all types of food and children’s games. At 7 p.m., downtown streets close down for a huge dance with CoastRunner Band.Details: 843-358-1074 or www.aynorharvesthoedown.org

Pawleys Island Festival of Music & ArtSept. 21-Oct. 3Embrace fall in coastal style with an outdoor music festival in Pawleys Island under the oaks of beautiful Litchfield Plantation. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the festival will feature an independent film series, wine tasting and wine gala, and musical performances by artists such as jazz pianist Judy Carmichael, bluesman Cool John Ferguson, guitarist Marco Sartor and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. Headliner performer is singer Steve March Tormé, son of the late legendary crooner Mel Tormé. In addition, the Grand Strand Theatrical Youth Players will perform a new production under the direction of Theatre of the Republic’s artistic director Tim McGhee.Details: 843-626-8911 or www.pawleysmusic.com

Myrtle Beach Greek FestivalSept. 23-26: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 7 p.m. SundayOpa! Here’s your annual opportunity to fill up on gyros, spankopita, mousaka and baklava like it should be made. St. John’s Greek Orthodox Church of Myrtle Beach hosts its 19th annual Greek Festival. Activities take place in the fellowship hall and on the church grounds on the corner of U.S. 17 Bypass and 33rd Avenue North. Vendors, Greek dancers and children’s activities are all part of the fun. Admission is $1 for adults, and children 10 and under are free.Details: 843-448-3773 or www.stjohn-mb.org

35th annual Atalaya Arts & Crafts FestivalSept. 24-26: noon to 6 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. SundayEnjoy fine art, quality crafts and Lowcountry food, along with the musical offerings of several of the area’s finest musicians. Daily festival admission fee is $6 for each adult. A multi-day pass is available for $10 per adult. Visitors 15 years old and under are admitted free. Park admission is also free. Huntington Beach State Park, Murrells Inlet. Details: 803-734-0450 (SC DOT), 843-237-4440 (Huntington Beach State Park) or www.atalayafestival.com

Irish-Italian International FestivalSept. 25, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.The Irish and Italians share more than similar colors on their national flags. Their love of family, food and fun are well-known, too. This seventh-annual festival highlights entrees from local restaurants that feature Irish and Italian foods, plus two stages of entertainment and children’s activities. Whether rain or shine, head down to Main Street in North Myrtle Beach. Free admission.Details: 843-280-5570

Oktoberfest at The Market Common Oct. 1-3: 5-9 p.m. Friday; noon to 6 p.m. Saturday; 1-5 p.m. SundayThis fun festival puts the “oomph” into oom-pah-pah! Presented by Weekly Surge and Gordon Biersch, the third-annual festival features all things German at Valor Park at The Market Common. More than 40 beers will be on offer, in addition to wine. The Rheingold Band will provide entertainment, with German food, German games and children’s activities. Details: www.WeeklySurge.com or www.MarketCommonEvents.com

6th annual Shrimp and Jazz FestivalOct. 9-11, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Join hundreds on the waterfront of the quaint fishing village of Little River (North Myrtle Beach) for all types of delicious, fresh seafood and live music. Whether you come for the food, the music or anything in between, a fun time is guaranteed. Columbus Day is now synonymous with this festival in Little River.Details: 843-249-6604 or www.littleriverchamber.org

31st annual Loris Bog-OffOct. 16, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.This annual festival draws upwards of 25,000 people and includes a chicken bog cooking contest, live music, fireworks, the Miss Loris Bog-Off Festival Pageant and a children’s pavilion. More than 200 crafts, retail and food vendors are also on tap. Celebrate a true Lowcountry culinary creation with a day of fun.Details: 843-756-6030 or www.lorischambersc.com

Harvest Home WeekendOct. 16-17, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.Harvest Home Weekend brings the bounty of the harvest and fun of autumn to Brookgreen Gardens. This fun-filled weekend features the always-popular scarecrow building contest and pumpkin painting. Hayrides, live demonstrations and entertainment. The two-day event is free with regular admission ($12) to the gardens.Details: 843-235-6000 or www.brookgreen.org

30th annual North Carolina Oyster FestivalOct. 16-17, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the North Carolina Oyster Festival in Brunswick County. An estimated 30,000 people will come to celebrate the mollusk that teems in the waters of coastal North Carolina. In addition, there will be live entertainment (including Coastline Band and the Band of Oz), arts and crafts vendors, festival food, shag dancing contest, 5K and 10K road race and a kids’ area. Highlights of the weekend include the North Carolina Oyster Shucking Championships and an Oyster Stew Cook-off in Ocean Isle Beach. Details: 800-426-6644 or www.brunswickcountychamber.org

Endless Summer FestivalOct. 30, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.There’s nothing truer about South Carolinians than our stubbornness! This festival kicks fall to the curb, as North Myrtle Beach digs its heels into the beach sand. Endless Summer Festival is held on Main Street in North Myrtle Beach and features a day filled with live entertainment, specialty craft items, food vendors and children’s area with rides. Free admission. Just don’t forget to bring your beach chair!Details: 843-281-2662 or www.nmbevents.com

41st annual S.C. State Bluegrass FestivalNov. 25-27, noon to 10 p.m.Fit your Thanksgiving festivities around this massive festival that features Bluegrass musicians from all across the nation. Each day will feature a full slate of acts at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. Artists include Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys and Dailey & Vincent. Tickets are $40 per day for advanced reserved, and $35 a day for general admission. Special three-day passes are available. Details: 706-864-7203 or www.aandbluegrass.com

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