North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina had a birthday on May 7, 2018. It turned 50 years old, but it will be celebrated at the 13th Annual Mayfest on Main Festival on May 12, 2018 with over 15,000 guests. Mayfest on Main in North Myrtle Beach is one of our most famous festivals which will take place at the Horseshoe at 11 South Ocean Boulevard from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.
Main Street in North Myrtle Beach will be closed to traffic and over 100 food and craft vendors will be set up with food and merchandise for all age groups. There will also be a kid’s area with rides, balloon artists, face painting, and more for the children to enjoy. For the adults’ entertainment, there will be a community stage and a stage at the Horseshoe featuring some of the best musical talents around performing until 6:00 p.m.
The shops and restaurants along Main Street will be open for you to browse and enjoy or you can bring a beach chair and sit and listen to music. If you feel like creating very special memories, bring a picnic and soak up some sun on the beach as you listen to the music from the main stage on the Horseshoe. The music on the main stage begins at 12:30 with Firehouse, followed by The Entertainers, and concluded by Taylor Dayne. See the schedule below:
Main Stage (Horseshoe)
12:00 PM: Opening Ceremonies
12:30 PM: Firehouse
2:00 PM: The Entertainers
4:00 PM: Taylor Dayne
10:00 AM: Gump Fiction
12:30 PM: Perlino Band
2:00 – 4:00 PM: Jim Quick & Coastline
Main Street in North Myrtle Beach was once Ocean Drive, one of four towns that now comprise North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It was where the “Shag” dance originated and the original SOS (Society of Stranders) members lived and played. During the summers, the old beach clubs, amusement parks, and beaches came to life with the youth of the 1950’s and early ‘60’s working summer jobs during the day and shagging at night to the sounds of classic beach music. Society of Stranders are people who lived, worked, and contributed to the lifestyle along the strand. The first officially-recorded SOS party was on September 11, 1980.
During this time, if you climbed to the top of the highest hotel, which was three stories, you could see for miles in all directions, because there were very few buildings—a few mom and pop hotels, some houses and a few local stores. When driving from Ocean Drive to Myrtle Beach, trees lined the highways in between the two locations. During the winter, the area was like a ghost town compared to the summers, with very little traffic.
In the beginning, there were four towns along the strand, Cherry Grove, Ocean Drive, Crescent Beach and Windy Hill. Cherry Grove Pier was built in 1952 to help attract people to the area. Later, four more piers were built—two in windy Hill, one in Crescent Beach and one in Ocean Drive. Over the years, all four of these piers have been destroyed by hurricanes and never were rebuilt. Only the Cherry Grove Pier remains standing today.
In October of 1954, Hurricane Hazel, a Category 4 storm, wiped out much of the Grand Strand with 106 mph winds, especially the north end of the strand. This was a turning point for the northern end of the beach due to new construction. Cherry Grove rebuilt quickly by moving houses from Crescent Beach and Ocean Drive to Cherry Grove. According to Ben Burroughs, director of the Horry County Archives Center at Coastal Carolina University, “Hurricane Hazel cleaned it out and so new construction started. And so, this time new construction, it was different. They were closer to the ocean, they were taller, they were bigger. And the old community of homes slowly started falling away.”
There was one road that led guests to the northern beaches of Cherry Grove, Ocean Drive, Crescent Beach, Atlantic Beach, and Windy Hill. After leaving Windy Hill, one would travel a long, lonely stretch of tree-lined road for approximately 20 miles before reaching the next nearest town of Myrtle Beach.
On May 7, 1968, four of the towns, Cherry Grove, Ocean Drive, Crescent Beach, and Windy Hill voted to incorporate into one city, North Myrtle Beach. According to Cathy Altman, executive director of the North Myrtle Beach Area Historical Museum, the citizens of the towns realized that they could save money by becoming one city, pooling their resources, and offering those city services to all of the residents.
Although the four towns incorporated into one city, North Myrtle Beach, they did not lose their separate identities. Cherry Grove was known for its fishing, and Ocean Drive was known for its Shag music. Crescent Beach was a family beach, and Windy Hill was known for its large sand dunes. They all had their own amusement parks. Although all of the towns are now incorporated into the City of North Myrtle Beach, they are still distinguished by areas as Cherry Grove, Ocean Drive, Crescent Beach and Windy Hill.
Claims to Fame:
The City of North Myrtle Beach has four claims to fame:
- Vanna White, who lived in the Crescent Beach section of North Myrtle Beach went on to become the hostess of Wheel of Fortune for 36 years.
- A 1,780-pound shark was caught off of the Cherry Grove Pier in 1964 by Watler Maxwell from Charlotte, North Carolina. It measured approximately 20 feet long and is one of the largest sharks ever caught.
- A North Myrtle Beach native, Kelly Tilghman, became the first full-time female play-by-play announcer for the PGA Tour tournaments.
- South Carolina’s State Dance, The Shag, originated in the Ocean Drive section of North Myrtle Beach and is still popular today.
North Myrtle Beach today is hard to recognize as the area from the 1950’s, but two things are still reminiscent of yesteryear—The Cherry Grove Pier, although refurbished, and the small amusement park in the Ocean Drive section of North Myrtle Beach that resembles the ones that each of the small town used to have. We currently have over 16,000 residents in North Myrtle Beach, a new Sports Complex that bring thousands from other states to play in tournaments every year, and Barefoot Landing, a renowned shopping complex with world-class restaurants, live music, and theater productions.
North Myrtle Beach’s 50th Anniversary Party:
Come celebrate North Myrtle Beach turning 50 years old by joining in the fun at the 13th Annual Mayfest on Main on May 12, 2018. There will be lots of food, fun, live music and shagging on the beach—North Myrtle Beach’s biggest birthday party ever!!!