World Famous Blue Crab Festival

Arts and crafts vendors, live entertainment, traditional seafood and more draw around 28,000 people to the “world famous” Blue Crab festival. 

Around 28,000 people are expected to show up to the 38th annual Little River Blue Crab Festival on May 18 and 19.

That’s about 14,000 locals and 14,000 visitors. 

“For the Blue Crab Festival, it’s about a 50/50 split,” said Little River Chamber President Jennifer Walters. “It’s our charge to attract visitors to our area on the shoulder seasons, and that’s why we have out festivals in May and October.”

So far, Walters said, 267 vendors have registered for the event, which started as a small gathering in 1981, and has grown into a festival with a $3 million economic impact.

“At the time, it was a juried arts and crafts festival,” she said. “It started out small and intimate. It’s like an old-fashioned southern street festival now. As Little River has grown, so has the festival.”

Now, there are plenty of food and craft vendors, a kids’ zone and a music lineup featuring RiverMist Band, Gary Lowder & Smokin’ Hot, Carolina Soul Band and Jim Quick & Coastline. Tickets to get in are $5. 

“We do have to charge admission for the festival because… Little River is unincorporated,” Walters said, adding that any profits are reinvested into the Little River community. 

DeAnna Robertson, who tends bar at her husband Joe’s eatery, Capt. Juel’s Hurricane Restaurant, said she’s worked the festival for about 20 years. 

“It’s busy, busy, brings a lot of people here that have never been here before to the area,” Robertson said. “They love it. Everybody loves the festival. A lot of our customers plan their vacations around the festival.”

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