The Grand Strand area is popular for many out of state vacationers, especially snow-weary Northerners. And, every March, Myrtle Beach takes an extra step to bring in those tourists from north of the border with its Canadian-American Days.
The event, which begins Saturday and runs through March 20, is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. Chris Kavanaugh is the Festivals and Special Events Manager for the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. He explains how the Can-Am Days began.
In 1961, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce introduced Canada Days to basically attract Canadian families to Myrtle Beach during their spring break. Two years later, it was renamed to Canadian-American Days.
More than 100,000 visitors are expected this weekend. The activities kick off Saturday with a St. Patrick’s Day parade and will include musical acts and other street events. Visit the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce’s website for a complete schedule of events.
Kavanaugh said the event is marketed in Canada through radio and television ads that appeal to those who want to escape to warmer weather.
People from the north– specifically Canada, but even the northern states– they need a little bit of a break from the rough winters. They love Myrtle Beach. There’s lots to do here. We really set up well for them with lots of things they really enjoy.
And how much does it cost?
All of our events are free from the Chamber. Some require tickets, but they’re all free tickets. Some of them you don’t even need tickets. We really try to make it beneficial for everyone.
Tickets have to be picked up from the Chamber’s main office at 1200 North Oak Street in Myrtle Beach.
The signature event of the week is the Can-Am Expo, which will be slightly different this year. The Expo, which has opened the festival in years past, will be on March 17 this year to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day. It will also move to the Coastal Grand Mall from the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.