MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Major changes are coming for the big Coastal Uncorked event this year, including a new date and a new location. This is also the first time the event will be held at Broadway at the Beach, and no trolleys will be in operation this year, but organizers say they expect the number of people attending Coastal Uncorked to double.
The Myrtle Beach Area Hospitality Association says they are trying to tap into a new group of tourists. They say changing the venue to Broadway at the Beach will help parking congestion. They will also have more festival space. Organizers say Coastal Uncorked is just one more reason for tourists to visit the Grand Strand for the Labor Day weekend.
Stephen Greene, President/CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Hospitality Association, says ticket sales have been strong, but he anticipates more at-the-door sales for the three-day festival.
Greene said they were able to get $50,000 from the Myrtle Beach A-tax committee to help promote the Grand Strand and the event for the holiday weekend.
"We are marketing in areas that are within a 150-mile radius, trying to get visitors to come in and enjoy the Labor Day weekend, so hopefully it has that impact on rooms," Greene said. "Obviously we are trying to get more people into our restaurants and into our culinary art businesses and with Broadway at the Beach this is a way they get to enjoy shopping, dining, and attractions before or after they come to this event."
Greene said the food festival is about boosting the Grand Strand's culinary tourism industry. He adds that there are more than 1,700 restaurants in the area, and they want people to experience what the culinary scene here has to offer.
Greene said they hope the convenient parking and more festival space will make the experience better for locals and tourists.
"The movement into Broadway at the Beach is almost double the numbers that we were capable of in the downtown oceanfront park, so it's another reason we moved to this facility," explained Greene.
The trolley stops were a big attraction for the festival in the past, but Greene said they will not be part of the festival this year. However, he says organizers do recognize how much people enjoyed that aspect of the event.
"We are potentially looking at another opportunity for the trolleys to come back for a different time of the year, but during Labor Day and the first week of June transportation on Ocean Boulevard, was challenging to accommodate. So we think this move to Labor Day with these particular events allows us a great chance to update the festival to bring more people out to enjoy."
Greene says a portion of the festival proceeds will go to scholarships for students at Horry-Georgetown Technical College and Coastal Carolina University.
It will also help build the new culinary school scheduled to open in 2016. The idea is to invest in students and give them opportunities to succeed in the local culinary tourism industry.