Shaggin’ at the Spring Safari

  • Monday, April 14, 2014

PHOTOS BY TIM BULLARD

Photos

The shag is the state dance, and in North Myrtle Beach, clubs from up and down the seaboard are celebrating Spring Safari.

If you have older dance shoes and want to share them with the younger generation, drop them off at the shoe center at Judy’s House of Oldies.

Ron Whisnant, president of SOS, talked about the festival.

“Spring Safari, 2014, begins on April 4, and runs through April 13. Ten days of friends coming together in a reunion atmosphere that will include dancing the shag, great music, in their favorite beach clubs in North Myrtle Beach. This influx of shaggers will fill the hotels/condos, restaurants, and shopping malls while visiting North Myrtle Beach.

“Their presence will help to perpetuate the businesses on Main Street and throughout the community to the impact of $12,000,000 during the ten day event. This impact will help many of the businesses who have endured a slow cold winter.

“The event is the 33rd Annual Spring Safari, and will be well attended. The attendance is expected to amount to approximately 15,000 shaggers and party enthusiasts alike. Many events will highlight the Spring Safari. Shag contests, tea parties, parch parties, and some sunning on the beach will fill the ten days,” said Whisnant.

The highlight of Spring Safari will be the Association of Carolina Shag Clubs 20th parade on Saturday April 12. The parade showcases the many talents of the 97 clubs that make up the ACSC, along with Hall of Fame members whom represent the dance around the shag world. The ACSC/SOS parade has become the largest non-commercial parade in the southeast.

The parade begins at 12:45 p.m., Saturday, April 12.

SOS has partnered with the city of North Myrtle Beach to give back to the city. “We want to be good citizens and contribute our part in making this a great place to host our events, to visit, vacation here, and for many of us, become homeowners/taxpayers, all stemming from this beach lifestyle,” Whisnant said. “SOS has contributed over $20,000.00 to the local Red Cross to help in the relief of Barefoot Landing fires and the relief efforts of the Red Cross in other areas of need. SOS has donated to hurricane relief in North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina in excess of $25,000.”

IN addition, he said, ACSC/SOS has funded two endowments totaling $100,000 each with the Foundation of the Carolinas benefitting hospice, and The University of South Carolina for scholarships in the arts and dance, in PhD. Phil Sawyers name. SOS also has a charitable foundation which donates monies to many needs, most notably to “Caring for Kids”, a Horry County organization, local schools, and other specific needs of the community.

One of the special events during SOS is the Fat Harold’s Beach Club’s Camp Keno auction. This event has raised many thousands of dollars each year to send kids to camp at no cost to them. This is an annual event that has raised in excess of $1,000,000.00, through its efforts.

Vickie Gilreath Harrison is the SOS photographer taking 5,000 photos for SOS Spring Safari.

Fat Harold’s is having his charity benefit on Sunday, April 6 at 1 p.m., and it will be packed for Camp Kemo, the camp to send kids with cancer to,” said the Little River resident.

One radio broadcaster is very excited about the event.

“I think we’re going to have a good one this year. It looks like we’re going to have warm weather. I think we’re going to have good attendance. We’re going to have live broadcasts,” said Ted Bell. “I think the weather has broken. I think we’re going to have a good time here.”

“Don’t worry about the construction. Come on down here. Enjoy the celebration,” Bell said.

On Friday, April 4 the O.D. Pavilion will feature Sid Pruitt from noon to 4 p.m.., Jerry Burage from 4-7 p.m., Claude Collins from 7-10 p.m. and Stevie B. from 10 p.m.. to closing.

Broadcaster Cecil Chandler spoke Tuesday about his experiences at the club.

“SOS it’s one big party for the older generation enjoying the music and meeting and seeing old friends and making new ones. That is what it’s all about in North Myrtle Beach. If you have never been to SOS, and you love beach music and shagging, you’ve got to go tat least once and if you do you will come back. Yes oh yes, it’s SOS again.”

Major league baseball scout for the Washington Nationals Paul Fault said, “One of the best weeks on the east coast where you can see people you have not seen in a long time and listen to the best music around.”

City council member Nikki Fontana said, “I’m looking forward to our shaggers being in town just in time for beautiful weather for them to enjoy.”

S.C. House of Representatives member Tracy Edge talked about the economic effect of so many people coming to the beach.

“SOS has had a major economic impact upon North Myrtle Beach by taking three weekends and weeks through the year that were before part of the off season when the beach was empty. Now during those three weeks area hotels and restaurants are completely full. When it started it really was empty until they made those weekends a real event.”

The fall event is Fall Migration.

Tim Bullard, 58, has a book published by The History Press of Charleston, “Haunted Watauga County.” He is married with a son, Conor. They live in Winston-Salem, N.C. He also has a column in the North Myrtle Beach Times and has won a S.C. Press Association feature writing award and a N.C. Press Association writing award. His website is www.timbullard.com.

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