Local living like a tourist takes a look at the Shag festivals in North Myrtle Beach SC

As the summer tourists leave, a different type of tourist comes down to the Grand Strand.

With the kids back in school, it is now time for adults to have fun!  This week is SOS Fall Migration in North Myrtle Beach SC.

So who and what is SOS?  SOS stands for Society of Stranders or those faithful to the shag dance.  The SOS faithful come down to Ocean Drive in North Myrtle Beach from September 12 to the 21 looking for sun, surf and shag!

The shag is a partner dance performed primarily to Beach Music (more than 100-130 beats per minute). Today, the Shag is a recognized dance in national and international dance competitions held across the United States, although it is mostly practiced in North and South Carolina in the many shag clubs.

The basic step in Carolina Shag is a six-count step danced in a slot. The rhythm is similar to six-count swing in that it is triple step, triple step, rock step where the man leads.

The shag is more than a dance to the SOS; it is a culture of friends gathering in North Myrtle Beach three times a year during the Fall Migration (September), Mid Winter (the third weekend in January) and the Spring Safari (April).  The Fall Migration and Spring Safari last 11 days while the Mid Winter lasts only three days.

Most of the activity takes place among the shag clubs or lounges on Main Street and Ocean Avenue.  On Friday night I purchased my SOS card, which is good for all the events and entrance to all the lounges and off I went to Ducks Beach Club.

I do not know how to shag, but I enjoyed watching those on the dance floor.  For those like me who don’t know how to shag, it is best to stay off the dance floor and try to learn the steps before you attempt. Some of the lounges offer weekly dance lessons and some even offer them during the Fall Migration. You need to check the schedules of each of the lounges to see what they are offering during the week.

After Ducks, I walked up and down Main Street walking into the other lounges. Some like to stay in the same location while others venture in and out of the lounges to find their favorite DJ or band.

Fall Migration has the added benefit of two days devoted to fun outside:  Fun Sunday and Fun Monday.  I attended Fun Monday and all I could see was a few thousand beach music enthusiasts sitting in chairs, sitting in their golf carts or walking around taking in the vendors and making new friends while waiting for the Embers to embrace the stage.  It was a perfect mix of great music, great weather (cloudy and a little cooler than it had been) and a lot of smiling faces.

There is still time to enjoy Fall Migration until Sunday but if you can’t make it to Main Street this week, you only have three and a half months until the Mid Winter SOS.

Until next week … enjoy all the Grand Strand has to offer.

Since July 2011, Sherrie has been living in North Myrtle Beach and sharing the best that the Grand Strand has to offer. From people to events, Grand Strand Happening is your source for everything fun from Little River to Murrells Inlet.

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