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Many ways to show patriotism in the Myrtle Beach area

No one has to wait until next week to get festive for the Fourth of July.

The annual Riverfest, a staple in downtown Conway, starts Friday night with a concert by funksters Tru Sol and a Patriotic Boat Parade at 9 p.m., with a full slate on Saturday, including a River Raft Race on the Waccamaw River and a fireworks finish, viewable across the business district.

Tina Gerrald, vice president of communications for the Conway Chamber of Commerce, said the Riverfest has always taken place on a Saturday before Independence Day, but this year a Friday night kickoff was added, with officials calling it “Community Night.” She said the annual boat parade was shifted to an evening affair to send a showcase of lighted vessels down the Waccamaw River.

This marks the second year in a row that the Grand Strand Corvettes Club will have a car show, Gerrald said, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Elm Street and in the Santee Cooper parking lot. A butterfly exhibit will be a first this year, as well.

Scanning the list for entries as of Monday for the River Raft Race on Saturday, Gerrald said several parties from out of town will set sail on the river with their all-homemade contraptions.

“They’re made from anything that people can float,” she said. “Anything from Pepsi two-liter bottles – you name it. We have a little bit of everything that is creative.”

The color for the Jell-O Jump, at 1 p.m. Saturday, also was clinched as of Monday, Gerrald said, a departure from a decision of red or green.

“It’s going to be patriotic blue,” she said, calling the event an annual favorite for childen. “They’ll be looking like Smurfs.”

Events for the Fourth are spread across the Grand Strand.

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans begin a six-game road trip Wednesday, led by three games against the Winston-Salem Dash, but the team will spark up home games with fireworks afterward on Sunday and Tuesday.

The Murrells Inlet MarshWalk will have its 29th annual Fourth of July Boat Parade and Fireworks Show, at 9 a.m. and 10 p.m., respectively.

For anyone who wants to see fireworks from a recliner inside, PBS will air its “A Capitol Fourth” concert and fireworks Wednesday night. The schedule of entertainers includes Josh Turner, a deep-voiced country crooner and a native of Hannah, west of Conway.

So, outside or in, take your pick of concerts, fireworks and parades as the nation celebrates its 236th birthday.