No one should have to choose between a full day of shopping and a beautiful day in the great outdoors, especially in such a sun-soaked and retail-rich location like Myrtle Beach. But for savvy bargain-hunters and outdoor-types, the perfect solution also happens to be a Grand Strand tradition.
The 43rd annual Art in the Park series holds its opening weekend on April 11-12 at Chapin Park in downtown Myrtle Beach, followed by a second event at Market Common’s Valor Park on Saturday and Sunday, April 18-19. The doubleheader serves a dual purpose for visitors who enjoy a relaxing day of multi-tasking by shopping for deals and spending some down time in the sunshine.
The Waccamaw Arts Guild serves as the host of the long-running Art in the Park series, which attracts some of the most popular artists and craftsmen on the East Coast. Featuring vendors from the local, regional and national circuit, Art in the Park is known for the quality and quantity of unique artists to the area. Vendors shop their wares in the scenic setting of Chapin Park, which is located behind the Chapin Memorial Library at the corner of Kings Highway and 16th Avenue North, and Valor Park, which adjoins the Market Common district on the south side of Myrtle Beach.
Shoppers can stroll along the sidewalks of the scenic and spacious parks and explore the booths and displays set up by some of the most renowned artists and craftsmen in the business. Among the many wares available for purchase are antiques, wood carvings, oil paintings, glasswork, pottery, jewelry, photography and other hand-made works that are as beautiful as they are hard to find. Unlike the mass-produced pieces you can find in national department store and retail chains, the sellers at Art in the Park offer unique items you can’t find anywhere else.
One of the best things about shopping at Art in the Park is the ability to talk first hand to the artists who created the works and wares so you can get an idea about the craftsmen’s backgrounds and what inspirations. There is a story behind every piece, and you can hear it straight from the mouth of the person who made it. That also gives you a story to tell when your friends and family are quizzing you about how and where you found such creative merchandise.
Art in the Park also attracts a wide range of shoppers as well as artists. With the booming popularity of TV shows like PBS’s “Antique Roadshow” and The History Channel’s “American Pickers,” Average Joes have become professional and amateur bargain-hunters, always on the lookout for a diamond in the rough. Whether you are a serious collector or just someone who loves to shop and explore, you will find a huge selection of items to choose from and a family-friendly environment for spending some quality time together.
Food vendors serve carnival-style favorites, such as hot dogs, hamburgers, and frozen ice and slushies for the children and the young at heart. Visitors can bring a blanket and enjoy a picnic lunch in the park while taking a break from all the shopping. Chapin Park also features a large playground so the kids burn off some energy while you shop, and Valor Park has the adjoining Grant Park, which is filled with playground equipment, hiking trails and sports fields. Families can make a full day of it by splitting time between shopping and playing in the park.
Art in the Park is held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays on select weekends throughout the year (April 11-12, June 27-28, October 10-11 and November 7-8 at Chapin Park and April 18-19 and November 14-15 at Valor Park). Admission is free for all ages. For more information, visit www.artsyparksy.com.