Little River has a colorful history of playing host to crusty characters. Over the years this quaint fishing village has served as a haven for everybody from pirates to smugglers to Civil War blockade runners. Every spring the Atlantic blue crab is revered as the favorite, holding the distinction of having his own annual festival. Not bad for a critter destined to be boiled in a pot.
‘The South’s Great Street Festival’
Traditionally the Little River Blue Crab Festival is held the weekend after Mother’s Day. The two-day event, which bills itself as “The South’s Great Street Festival,” has become a local institution. It draws a lively mix of local families and tourists. Lucky for festival goers, the brief soft shell crab season kicks off in May.
Little River is nestled on the South Carolina coast near the North Carolina border. It’s the northern edge of the so-called Grand Strand,about 20 miles north of Myrtle Beach, S.C.
In 1981 the Little River Blue Crab Festival began with just a few vendors stationed under the stately live oaks that line Little River’s waterfront. In recent years the event has grown into one of the premier seafood festivals in the Southeast. The expected 50,000 visitors can enjoy all manners of crab—crab cakes, crab balls, crab-on-a-stick and of course, crab the purists’ way—steamed and spicy.
Crab not your favorite food? Not a problem. Other Low country food specialties will abound. You can get she-crab soup along with alligator on a stick. There also is a wonderful seafood section at one of the restaurants by the water. Usual festival fare such as pizza and funnel cakes are also available.
Festival activities have expanded in recent years and include a 5K run, a motorcycle poker run, a petting zoo and a beauty pageant. Ongoing entertainment, and arts and crafts vendors from throughout the region line Little River’s narrow streets. There’s also a play area for kids.
Besides the fantastic food, is the large number of arts and crafts vendors. Each year festival goers buy something as a reminder of the festival. Over the years regulars have acquired everything from pottery to wall hangings to mobiles. The number of vendors continue to grow and they have many wonderful and unique items.