Thousands attend 26th annual Sea & Sand Festival on Folly Beach

Local band James Justin & Co., performs Saturday at the 26th annual Sea & Sand Festival on Folly Beach.

Live music, kettle corn, carnival games and local art filled Folly Beach’s Center Street Saturday for the 26th annual Sea & Sand Festival.

The festival, touted as the city’s longest running event, doubled as a fundraiser to support a number of nonprofits that are based on the island, including the Folly Beach Turtle Watch Program, Surfers Healing, Warrior Surf Foundation, Folly Angels and Pet Helpers, according to organizer Ben Bounds.

“It was all about local food, local art, local music, and everyone coming together for a family-friendly, community-friendly fundraiser,” said Bounds. “It signals the end of the off season for us because once May rolls around we’re too busy to have a festival. It’s kind of our last street festival until the fall.” The festival weekend began Friday with the third annual Miss Sea & Sand Pageant at Folly River Park. A 5K race on the beach that was scheduled for Saturday morning ended up being canceled due to low registration, though thousands partook in the day’s other festivities.

Attendees perused roughly 100 art and food vendors that lined four blocks of Center Street.

The vendors included Jeremy Cockrell of James Island who used the opportunity to showcase the nautical-themed artwork he sells through his business Tuna Trading Company.

“The concentration of people alone” made the event good for business, he said. “They came ready to spend.”

Attendees also enjoyed face painting, a mechanical bull, silent auction and book signing. They danced and sang along with live bands that performed on two stages, including Sunflowers & Sin, James Justin & Co., the Shakin’ Martinis, Don’t Mess with the Tiger, and Island Trio & the Folly Bluegrass Society.

James Island mother Jennifer Altman attended the festival with her 2-year-old son and friends.

“It’s a kid-friendly event,” she said, “and it’s really nice to see all of the local vendors, from artwork, to jewelry, to food.”

Reach Christina Elmore at 843-937-5908.