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Edisto to host annual shagging fest

Shaggers from across the region will soon be flocking to Edisto Beach for the town’s annual Shag Festival.

The event is set to begin this year on August 31 and will last through Sept. 2nd.

Dancers showing off their moves to South Carolina’s official dance can participate in a shag contest. Others who want to listen to shag music can enjoy the tunes of several nationally-ranked bands, including The Tonez, the Shem Creek Boogie Band and the Band of Oz. Also performing is famed Shag artist Jim Quick.

The Band of Oz is a returning act from last year’s festival. “We change our lineup of entertainment each year to draw new people, but The Band of Oz was such a hit that we asked them to return,” said Mary Edna Keller, a coordinator for the annual Edisto Beach event.

The event will be held at Bay Creek Park. Admission is $15 per day, per person. Anyone age 12 and under can enter for free.

The festival is sponsored by Darrin Moore, owner of Dockside Bar and Grill at Edisto Beach. He and other sponsors work throughout the year to make sure the festival returns to Edisto, said Keller.

“Every year, the festival at Edisto gets bigger and bigger,” she said. “People just love it, and shagging, and shag music, is making a huge comeback.”

According to Keller, the festival’s organizers expect high attendance at this year’s event. The 2017 festival brought in a near-record crowds, despite stormy weather. The 2016 festival, however, experienced poor attendance because of a tropical storm that threatened the event.

“We expect it to go smoothly,” she said, speaking of this year’s festival. “It’s a great thing, to keep our traditions alive. Traditions are so very important.”

The shag is South Carolina’s official state dance. It originated in Myrtle Beach. According to Keller, there are 92 independent shag clubs across the region, including Walterboro. Each of the clubs have been invited to attend the Edisto Beach Shag Festival. “Charleston is actually one of the bigger shagging clubs that we contact,” she said. “But, Walterboro always has a strong presence. The 2016 shag winners were from Walterboro.” According to Keller, these winners were Ronnie and Cindi Nettles. “They beat out a lot of people,” she said. “Walterboro is typically a large supporter of this event.”

The festival begins at noon on August 31st, with a band taking the stage at 7 p.m.

It opens again at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and features crafts, vendors, and multiple performers. The non-professional shagging competition starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday, followed by a 7 p.m. performance by The Band of Oz.

The festival opens at noon on Sunday, and closes with a final performance, which begins at 4 p.m. and lasts through 8 p.m.

Christie Slocum (545 Posts)