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The fall season is upon us, and that means one thing to locals and visitors in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina - festivals. While the summer beach parties are winding down, the autumn events are gearing up for the peak of the festival season.
Paying tribute to everything from international food and culture to American cars and motorcycles, the Grand Strand is jam packed with fun over the next two months. Guests at The Caribbean Resort & Villas have a front-row seat to the beach and pool decks while also being close to the action. Here's a preview of some of the most popular fall festivals in town:
* Arts and Crafts Festivals: Two of the top arts and crafts shows every year just happen to fall a couple of weeks apart in the autumn. The Atalaya Arts & Crafts Festival (Sept. 22-24) sees dozens of vendors display their wares in the courtyard of Atalaya Castle, the manmade highlight in the natural and scenic Huntington Beach State Park. A fortnight later, Art in the Park (Oct. 7-8) returns to Chapin Park in downtown Myrtle Beach with some of the best artists and craftsmen showing off their skills and selling their works. The adjoining Chapin Park Playground provides a place for the kids to play while their parents shop.
* Car and Bike Festivals: For visitors with a need for speed, Myrtle Beach hosts two gatherings this fall that are fun whether you like to ride on two wheels or four. Moving its traditional date to the fall for this year, Myrtle Beach Mustang Week (Sept. 4-10) features a week of car shows, cruise-ins and other events designed to honor Ford's most popular muscle car. Another high-octane event is the Myrtle Beach Bike Week Fall Rally (Oct. 2-8), which is smaller than its spring counterpart but offers less congestion and lighter crowds so bikers have plenty of room to roam the Grand Strand.
* Food and Drink Festivals: The Grand Strand puts out a huge spread for food and drink lovers to enjoy the flavors of the Carolina coast. Labor Day weekend sees the Beach, Boogie & BBQ Festival (Sept. 1-2) take over the HGTC Conference Center near The Market Common for a three-day barbecue and beer bash, while the Coastal Uncorked Food, Wine & Spirits Festival (Sept. 1-3) serves up some tasty treats at Broadway at the Beach, which is only 1 mile down 29th Avenue North from The Caribbean. In October, the Little River Shrimp Fest (Oct. 14-15) brings live music, dancing and "mudbugs" served dozens of different ways on the Little River waterfront. The capper is the culinary shindig of the year - Taste of the Town (Oct. 17), which sees dozens of local restaurants compete for prizes in various food categories.
* International Festivals: America is a melting pot, so plenty of festivals have a bit of international flavor. But one particular Grand Strand weekend is like a United Nations conference. The St. John's Greek Festival (Sept. 28-Oct. 1) celebrates Grecian culture with authentic music, dancing, food, drinks and vendors. On Saturday, the Irish Italian International Festival (Sept. 30) on Main Street in North Myrtle Beach combines two nationalities into one big party with great food, drink, music and culture.
Of course, the best place to party this fall is at The Caribbean Resort & Villas, which offers a vacation filled with fun things to do without leaving the resort. With indoor and outdoor oceanfront pools, a stand-alone water park and other amenities, The Caribbean resort in Myrtle Beach is the ultimate place to escape for a relaxing autumn retreat or a good time at the festivals.