Lisa Coombs hopes to bring some international taste and customs to Myrtle Beach.
The organizer of the upcoming Myrtle Beach International Culture Festival is aiming to do so through sharing music, dancing, food and artifacts, all served with a southern hospitality.
“The most important thing (about the event) is celebrating life through diversity,” she said. “That’s the whole concept.”
Such an event was held previously at the Myrtle Beach Speedway, but Aug. 10 marks the first time the festival will take place in the Myrtle Beach city limits.
Coombs said she was inspired by her homesick husband Michael, a native of Jamaica, who felt melancholy and told his spouse he missed the island.
When his wife would ask him what he missed about his home country, his face lit up as he spoke about dishes like escovitch fish and jerk chicken as well as traditional music.
“I began to say ... ‘What could we do to bring some culture here?’” Coombs said.
She pointed out that multiple countries are represented in the Myrtle Beach area by J-1 students, college students from other nations and many who immigrated to the United States. As a hair stylist and owner of a beauty salon off Broadway Street, Coombs mentioned the Five Points district, which is home to restaurants offering cuisine from Vietnam and Brazil.
“Myrtle Beach is a melting pot of diversity,” she said.
She hopes for the event to become an annual tradition.
The festival’s performers include Pure Fiyah Reggae Band and Polynesian fire knife dancers.
A Gullah storyteller will also share tales.
The food features a host of options, including kebabs, curry chicken and more.
Shoppers can also browse items like sweetgrass baskets and jewelry. The event is free to attend and will take place Saturday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. at Chapin Park, located at 16th Avenue North and Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach.
Part of the event proceeds will benefit the Jacqueline Elizabeth Rodgers Foundation. Named after her mother who passed away in 2005, President Kim Rodgers-Clora said the organization looks to support women undergoing breast cancer treatment.
The organization holds events each year to raise funds for a woman who is selected, who ends up receiving a check. This year’s theme is “Her fight is our fight.”
A teacher at Ocean Bay Middle School is this year’s recipient. Upcoming events include the Destination Cure fashion show at 1 p.m. Oct. 13 at the General Robert H. Reed Recreation Center.
For more information about the festival, visit mbicfonline.org.