MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Event organizers said the annual Sun Fun festival has marked the unofficial start of the summer season on the Grand Strand since 1951.

The early Sun Fun Festivals brought family-friendly activities in and around the Myrtle Beach Pavilion.

While the Pavilion is no longer around, the Sun Fun is still a hit for people of all ages.

“This parade was amazing. I don’t even know what to give it, it was so good,” said Stevie Spalding, a Myrtle Beach resident.

Viewers gathered along the parade route down Ocean Boulevard where they could collect toys, candy and fun accessories if they got close enough.

The parade featured local businesses and talent, but most of it was made up of members of different Shriner groups.

Shriners International is an organization with about 325,000 members who raise money for the Shriners Hospitals for children.

“There’s no cost for any kids to get into these hospitals, you just got to contact a Shriner and we’ll get them in there,” Shriners member David Sutherland said.

The Omar Shrine Temple is a member of its South Atlantic Shrine Association and has almost 3,500 members, many of whom participated in the parade.

“What they’re doing now is picking up money and giving it to the hospitals for all our kids,” Sutherland said.

The Shriners did tricks, raised money and showed off their dance skills.

The festival will continue Sunday from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. at Plyler Park.

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Claire Purnell is a multimedia journalist at News13. Claire is from Louisville, Kentucky. Claire joined the News13 team in January 2023 after graduating from the University of Colorado-Boulder in December 2022. Follow Claire on Twitter and read more of her work here.

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