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Sun Fun Festival makes grand return to Myrtle Beach

Updated: Jun. 6, 2021 at 9:30 AM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Despite the cloudy start to the weekend, one of the Grand Strand’s biggest events made its big return.

The Sun Fun Festival got into full gear Saturday along Ocean Boulevard after it being canceled last year due to COVID-19.

Even though there wasn’t much sun, those who attended said there was still plenty of fun to be had.

The festival’s events on Saturday kicked off with a parade where residents and visitors lined the streets waving as cars passed by.

Maritsa Platis, a North Myrtle Beach native who was recently crowned Miss U.S. International, was part of the parade and said it’s a great way to kick off the summer.

“I think this really shows the people visiting Myrtle Beach what we are all about and is the spirit, the hospitality and the tourism that brings people altogether,” she said.

Organizers Michelle Plyler and Justin Plyler, who both run the Gay Dolphin Gift Cover, said holding the festival this year was actually quite the challenge. It’s also been a hustle for their team involved in making it happen.

“It has been much harder to bring it back than I hope it would be,” said Justin Plyler, CEO of Gay Dolphin. “It has been a growth process every time you don’t have a festival you have to build it back up you are starting from scratch.”

The Sun Fun Festival was first held in 1951 as a way to celebrate the beginning of the tourism season; but recently, it was unclear what would happen with the event this year.

“Two to three months ago we weren’t really sure that we’d be able to have the festival back at full capacity, or it will have restrictions. Whether a parade will be able to happen or not,” said Michelle Plyler, General Manager of Gay Dolphin.

However, not all hope is lost. Michelle said it was nice to see people show up.

“We are so thankful that they are so dedicated,” she said. “We have seen people that we haven’t seen in a year that came back to the parade.”

Organizers are already planning to have a bigger and better event next year, including the return of the Miss Sun Fun competition.

“Things are different this year for sure, but we are happy to bring back this festival,” said Michelle Player. “I think is important that we let people know that we are back and are going to be here.”

The Sun Fun Festival is scheduled to continue through Sunday.

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