Popular ShrimpFest to give back to flood victims

    The 14th annual Little River ShrimpFest, organized by the Little River Chamber of Commerce had more vendors this year than any other, according to its organizer. Some proceeds are set to benefit flooding victims in Horry County. (Taggart Houck/WPDE)<p>{/p}

    For 13 years, the Little River ShrimpFest has been a place to get unique crafts from local vendors, enjoy face painting and live band performances and enjoy mouth-watering shrimp.

    It's a local tradition. To some people, it's a treasure.

    Now in it's 14th year, the popular event has the potential to be so much more than a treasure to some flood victims in Horry County.

    "We are going to donate a portion of the proceeds to flood and hurricane relief to help try to help our community heal," said Jennifer Walters, President and CEO of the Little River Chamber of Commerce.

    Walters said this year, the festival had more vendors sign up than any other year. She said there were more than 200 booths, filled with sellers from across the Carolinas.

    "The ShrimpFest has continued to grow over the last few years and it is still climbing," said Walters.

    Of course, the big sell here is always the shrimp.

    "This is an opportunity for us to show you what a wonderful restaurant we have," said Crystal Thompson.

    Thompson works at Captain Juel's Restaurant in Little River. Its shrimp is a constant winner in local shrimp contests. She said the festival makes it possible for the restaurant to branch out to customers they may not normally see, in an environment she and her co-workers crave.

    "You don't feel like a customer, you feel like part of the family," she said.

    Some booths are independently helping flood victims, like the North Myrtle Beach Rotarians, who raffled off a robotic lawnmower, among other prizes and free sandwich vouchers. They said money would go directly to flood victims in Horry County.

    "We're gonna get Lowe's or Home Depot gift certificates and they can just go buy materials for their houses for that," said Erna Blome, a member of the club.

    No word yet on how much money from the festival will go to flooding victims, or how it will be used.

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