Saturday, April 9, 2016

The 2016 Sea And Sand Festival On Folly Beach--Fun Was Had By All

The word folly is most commonly recognized as meaning a foolish idea or act, such as in the case of the purchase of Alaska, which some thought at the time was a mistake and called it Seward's Folly, named for then Secretary of State, William H. Seward. But in the case of Charleston's southern barrier island once-upon-a-time named Folly, home of today's Folly Beach, the word takes on a whole different meaning. Truthfully, Folly was named for its coastline, which was once densely packed with trees and undergrowth, as the Old English name for such an area was "Folly."

I only mention this because before I became aware of this point of fact and I mean this with no disrespect to the wonderful residents of Folly, I wondered why an island would be called a place of foolishness. But then, it made perfect sense to me. Folly Beach is where people go to escape reality and engage in music, dance, and spirits, which are often equated with foolishness, and so, Folly Beach. Alas, truth is stranger than fiction and between me and you, I still like my original misguided take because I go to Folly Beach to have fun. And that is what everybody had at this years Sea and Sand Festival.

The Sea and Sand Festival is Folly Beach's longest running and biggest street party. If I was to make a comparison, the Sea and Sand Festival is to Folly Beach what the Flowertown Festival is to Summerville. In its 26th year, it is a family friendly event with live music, art vendors, food and drink specials from participating restaurants, fun activities for the kids and a host of other entertainment.

In all, it is a two day event. Festivities kicked off on Friday with the Annual Miss Sea and Sand Pageant at the Folly River Park. Then on Saturday, the festival began at 8:30 am with the 6th Annual Coffin Island 5k Race at the Folly Beach Pier where the runners were encouraged to dress as a pirate (Pirates were known to sail along the South Carolina coast and the many inlets, sounds, bays formed by barrier islands and sea islands like Folly Island. Two of the most memorable were Edward Teach, known as Black Beard, and Stede Bonnet). Then at 11 am, four blocks from Huron Street to Ashley Avenue on Center Street were closed to car traffic and the actual festival began.

Thousands of locals and visitors from California to South Carolina were in attendance and foolishness was had by everyone. There was two stages of live music featuring James Justin and Co., Sunflowers and Sin, Shakin' Martinis, Don't Mess with the Tiger, Island Trio, and Folly Bluegrass Society with a third set up at Huron Street. Other activities included a mechanical bull ride and a kid's activity zone with a four-station bungee jump trampoline, carnival games, face painting, and more. There was also a silent auction, a sand castle contest, a photo booth and a book signing. And of course, there was the beautiful beach to take a relaxing walk on.

The Sea and Sand Festival is a great way to soak in the eclectic beach flavor and easy island vibe that is Folly Beach. The music, food, and drink specials all combined together to give everyone that let's hang out and stay awhile feeling. Like Folly Beach's famous Lost Dog Cafe, the festival is also dog friendly. So, if you missed this year's fun, make it a point to attend next year's festivities. Enjoy the pictures and video.

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