You've been to Irish-themed festivals, with their green beer and good cheer. And you've been to an Italian celebration, filled with grape-stomping and spicy grilled sausages.
But an Irish-Italian festival? They go together like potatoes and pasta, right? Actually, it turns out to be one of the highlight events on the busy social schedule in North Myrtle Beach, a town that knows how to throw a party and bring people together.
That's the underlying theme of this 11th annual Irish-Italian International Festival, which will be held Saturday, Sept. 27 in the downtown intersection of Main Street and Ocean Drive. By combining two distinct cultures into one big block party, North Myrtle Beach celebrates its ethnic diversity and brings all kinds of backgrounds to the table for a unique event of food and drink, arts and crafts, and song and dance.
The Irish-Italian International Festival features a pair of stages on either end of a four-block stretch of Main Street – one near the junction of Main Street and Hillside Drive, and the other inland in front of Flynn's Irish Tavern. Both stages will feature a full day of entertainment, from live music to dance troops and the festival favorite – the spaghetti-eating competition. Slurping noodles is not only allowed but required since contestants are not allowed to use their hands.
More than 15,000 are expected the line the streets between the two stages, where restaurants and local businesses will compete for such titles as Best Dessert and Best Decorated. Along the way, arts and crafts vendors will set up shop to show off their wares and roaming entertainers, including stilt-walkers and balloon artists, will delight the crowd. A children's area will offer an inflatable playground, magic shows, face-painting and more to keep the little ones entertained.
This year's entertainment lineup includes Irish Dancers music by the Band on the Rum, Port City Pipes and Drums, EMISH, Dale Mosher, Larry Tanelli and The Tim Clark Band. Visitors can also make a short stroll down to Ocean Drive to hit the shag-dance clubs and check out some of the city’s top attractions.
The Irish-Italian Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27, and is free and open to the public. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and beach blankets to sit and watch the shows. For more information, visit www.northmyrtlebeachchamber.com.