Little River’s 33rd Annual World Famous Blue Crab Festival

Blue Crab art outside of Pirates Treasures in Little River

Blue Crab art outside of Pirates’ Treasure House

I have a confession.  I don’t like blue crabs.  I can’t get past the smell, and I’m just not okay with doing so much work before I can actually eat.  That being said, I clearly enjoy festivals so I was happy to accompany Karen to Little River’s 33rd Annual World Famous Blue Crab Festival this past weekend.

The Blue Crab Festival is one of the largest festivals in the Southeast and boasts almost 200 arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, entertainment, and even a children’s area. This year’s festival attracted more than 50,000 people from the entire Grand Strand area, including many in the area for Myrtle Beach Bike Week.

With so many people in attendance, it should come as no surprise that parking was a bit of a hassle.  I highly recommend arriving earlier than Karen and I did; by the time we arrived around 4 not only was parking difficult but we were left with only two hours to actually enjoy the festival.  Regardless, we did have a lot of fun!

After paying our $ 10 admission fee ($5 each for Karen and I; free for children 12 & under) Karen, her daughter

Hannah and Kelly make pirate faces at the Blue Crab Festival

Hannah and I decided to explore some of the craft vendors.  We stumbled upon Pirates’ Treasure House, a local shop with an eclectic assortment of pirate and nautical items, ranging from clothing and jewelry to home décor.  I particularly enjoyed the old-timey treasure maps and ocean-inspired paintings.  Hannah and I also had fun with the pirate ship themed “head in hole” cutout located in front of the store.

After a bit more exploring, we decided to grab a bite to eat as we were all pretty hungry.  There were many typical festival options available from turkey legs to corndogs and funnel cake.  Karen and Hannah split a Personal Pan Pizza from a Pizza Hut Vendor while I stuck to my festival/carnival food favorite: Italian Sausage.  We also enjoyed fresh-squeezed lemonade and free samples of apple fries with cinnamon.

We walked by the festival stage, where a crowd was enjoying local band Gary Lowder & Smokin’ Hot’s version of “When a Man Loves a Woman”.    We discovered a dock that stretched over the river where we were able to watch sand crabs scutter about into and out of their holes.  This kept us entertained for a bit, though we eventually decided to check out more of the craft vendors.    After exploring more local artist’s tents (and free samples of wine slushies), Karen and I decided we needed to at least try some blue crab at the festival.

Steamed Blue Crab

Steamed Blue Crab

We visited a few venders who were sold out before we finally found a place with steamed crabs.  Karen and I ordered one to share and quickly realized neither of us had ever actually had to shell a blue crab.  The woman who handed us our crab explained all of the steps involved, but by the time we got to our table we had forgotten every step beyond the first one.  We were able to get the meat out of the legs with no problem, and Karen enjoyed the sweet taste of the blue crab.  I had one bite (I was at the blue crab festival after all) but didn’t particularly enjoy it.  After some discussion and strategic planning, Karen took our crab-cracking tool and split the entire crab body in half.  Needless to say, this didn’t yield very favorable results, and the rest of the meat was tainted with that green goop you find in a lot of seafood (what is that, anyway?!?).

We had gotten our blue crab just in time; we finished eating just as the festival vendors began closing for the day.  Although we didn’t have time to grab funnel cake (my favorite festival/carnival dessert), we were able to check out a few final craft vendors.  All in all, it was a great day.  The Blue Crab Festival provided us with delicious food, tons of crafts to admire, and lots of entertainment.  I can’t wait to attend next year’s event.  We’ll be sure to get there earlier and bring someone with us who knows how to shuck a blue crab.

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