The 18th annual Irish Italian International Festival adds color and fun to North Myrtle Beach in September, proving that while summer is coming to an end, NMB is just getting started.

The one-day festival returns to Main Street on Saturday, September 24, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with free admission. The annual celebration of Irish and Italian cultures typically draws tens of thousands of people, from locals to out-of-towners. Join in on the fun and build a weekend trip around the festival. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the Irish Italian International Festival.

Spaghetti Eating Contest & More

Shop for unique finds at arts and crafts booths, and eat delicious fare from food vendors competing for best entrée, best decorated, and best dessert. Watch as street performers dazzle and amaze on Main Street. In the middle of all the action will be two stages, one Irish and the other Italian-themed, full of live entertainment between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

The Italian stage will host a spaghetti eating contest at 1:30 p.m. with food provided by local staple Ledo Pizza. If you think you have what it takes, enter the contest. If you win, you may enjoy carb-loaded bragging rights for a year. 

Where to Park

If you need a place to park, there are plenty of options on and around Main Street:

– McLean Park, 93 Oak Drive

– Bi-Lo Shopping Center on Main Street

– Public parking lot, 250 Main Street

– Parking lot at North Myrtle Beach Family Practice, 86 Cedar Avenue

If you’re staying at a nearby accommodation, walk or take a rideshare to the festival.

Things to Do in North Myrtle Beach – Main Street & Beyond

Build a weekend trip around the family festival. Here’s how.

Arrive Friday and spend the entire weekend in NMB. While you’re at the festival on Saturday, browse through Main Street shops. Find quality clothes and locally-made jewelry at Hope Taylor & Company. If you’re an art lover, stop by The Gallery on Main, showcasing work from local artisans. You won’t want to miss spending time on the nine-mile stretch of beaches. Swim in the water, go sightseeing for bottlenose dolphins or sunbathe on the shore. 

Stay at one of the area’s top beachfront accommodations and dine at some of the best restaurants in the Grand Strand, including Main Street Taphouse and Flynn’s Irish Tavern, in case you didn’t get enough Irish food at the festival. 

The next day, enjoy a day of boating or jet skiing, among other water activities, or travel on horseback with Inlet Point Plantation around Waites Island. Watch a live show at the Alabama Theatre or House of Blues, both in Barefoot Landing. Barefoot Landing is also home to other family attractions, like Alligator Adventure, the “Reptile Capital of the World,” and Crooked Hammock Brewery, which has libations for adults and a playground for the kids.

If you plan on staying the weekend, make it a long one, and partake in another must-see Main Street event, Music on Main. The live music summer event is held Thursday nights through September 29. 

Come for the annual Irish Italian International Festival, and stay for everything else.