I love Myrtle Beach. The amount you’d have to pay me to leave has many, many zeroes. Fall is my favorite season, partially due to the insane amount of festivals. But I’ve been to two in the past few months that left me with a little to be desired. I’d love to have other locals or attendees weigh-in.
MayFest, held over Memorial Day weekend, took place at the old Pavilion site and featured many Disney and Nickelodeon stars for meet and greets. Their tables lined the side closest to Business 17. The lines to meet them extended far beyond the middle point of the lot of land. Food vendors were on the Ocean Boulevard end. I was there alone with one of my daughters.
When we arrived, the lines were so overwhelming that we decided to just get in one, concerned they’d cut them off and we wouldn’t get a chance to met her favorite stars. As I expected, they moved very slowly. I estimate we had 200 people ahead of us and we were stood in excess of 90 minutes. The temp that day was over 90 degrees and the sun was baring down on us.
My daughter isn’t old enough that I could leave her to go get us a drink. I also didn’t want to lose our place in line after all of the time we invested waiting. Sure, there was a free sunscreen tent, but again, it was too far for me to walk without her and vice versa.
What we soon realized is that many families split up. Mom would wait in one line, Dad in another. Big sister scoped out a third, and big sister’s friend in another. Cell phones would be in use and as one member of the party would get near the front of the line, any others who had already completed their stint in another would join them. So what looked like 200 people in front of us was actually more like 250.
After the fact I was talking to another mom and she had the best idea. They should do a ticket system. The first 300 people get tickets. Without a ticket, you don’t get an autograph or picture. The tickets are for a timeframe so that numbers 1 through 50 are from 1:00 – 1:30, 51 through 100 are from 1:30 – 2:00, or whatever. That alleviates the need to stand in the line the whole time and limits cutsies.
Another suggestion is to not put all concessions around the perimeter, or encourage mobile refreshment carts to participate. I would have paid a lot of money for a bottle of water that day! Last, some of the presentations were held on the Ocean Boulevard side, to which everyone in line had their back turned. In this case, it was an amazing military drill team. Let’s get those men and women they deserve and put them in the center of all the people!
Last weekend we attended Oktoberfest and while we definitely had a good time, there were some messy logistics. First, there were only two food vendors that we saw. I know it’s a German-themed festival, but a hot dog, chicken nugget, or funnel cake would have rocked my children’s world. They were good sports and made the best of bratwurst.
Sure, sure…there are restaurants and food stands all along Ocean Boulevard. Why didn’t we just hit one of them, you ask? Welllll…the street was blocked off and alcohol was only permitted on the street. Literally on the street. There were barricades just inside the curbs, so when Mr. MyrtleBeachforFamilies imbibed in some German beer, he couldn’t leave the bull pen. We saw a few folks do it without knowing and the event staff was very nice and provided guidance, rather than causing a commotion. But still, it was weird logistics.
The other thing was that there were only a handful of other booths and vendors. I saw a craft and jewelry vendor or two, but that was it. The Special Olympics had a big tent with shirts for sale, but there were no activities or anything. This one got me wondering if the inundation of festivals have created an environment of many festivals with “eh” representation, rather than fewer with a ton. The weekend before last, Conway hosted their first Fall Festival, which included entertainment, vendors, a farmer’s market and an honest-to-goodness second festival two blocks over. The Live Oak Art & Music Festival was on the same day at the same time. Conway was *thee* place to be that day. Maybe next year the Oktoberfest at Market Common, a three-day event, should combine with the Downtown Oktoberfest and take over the world.
So what’s your take? Did you attend any festivals this year that were just fantastic? What made them great? Did you go to an event that was just so/so? How could it have been improved?
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