The 41st Annual Atalaya Arts & Crafts Festival provides artistic beauty against the background of natural beauty, and features more than 100 of the finest artisans in the region. The festival is held at Atalaya Castle at Huntington Beach State Park, just south of Myrtle Beach. Enjoy live music from some of the area’s most talented musicians as you stroll along browsing fine arts and crafts, and enjoying delicious food.
About Huntington Beach State Park
Huntington Beach State Park includes a unique combination of beaches, woods, marshes, and trails, and even has a stone castle as its heart! The park attracts visitors every year with its pristine white beaches along the Grand Strand. Featuring outstanding examples of the state’s natural coastal environment, this 2,500-acre park includes a freshwater lagoon as well as a salt marsh and maritime forest. The park is also regarded as one of the best birding sites along the east coast. Other creatures found within the park include alligators, fish, and oysters. The park also includes fishing, camping and kayaking tours.
The History of Atalaya Castle
Archer Huntington, the famed industrialist and philanthropist, built Atalaya Castle in the early 1930s for his wife Anna Hyatt Huntington, who was a prolific sculptor. The couple bought property that extends into the current Huntington State Park, and was originally four adjacent rice plantations that existed since before the Civil War. The entire extent of their purchase exceeds over 9,000 acres with their original dream being to build a winter home overlooking the ocean. Anna was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1927 and she and her husband felt the mild winters of South Carolina would be better for her health over New York City.
The name Atalaya means watchtower in Spanish. A scholar of Spanish culture, Archer designed the house after the Mediterranean coastline Moorish architecture. The unique structure took close to three years to come alive, with building taking place during the great depression. Archer made sure to hire local labor to build the house so that he could help neighboring people who were struggling during those hard economic times.
The house and grounds include more than 30 rooms with a large enclosed courtyard in the center of the property. The back of the castle opens toward the beach dunes. While only a one-story house, the center of the castle, a forty-foot square sided water tower, raises modestly above the other living areas. The south side of the home contained a studio large enough for Anna’s sculpting work. Animals were her favorite subject matter, so this area also contained a small stable.
While the grounds and building are open daily, guided tours are only available during the summer months. And while touring the castle on your own is a wonderful experience, taking a guided tour is well worth the second trip, as it helps you to understand the history of the castle on a deeper level.
Interested in seeing the castle? The Atalaya Arts & Crafts Festival is the perfect opportunity to see local art as well as the beauty of the castle located within the natural serenity of Huntington Beach State Park. Daily festival admission is $8 for adults, with a multi-day passes available for $10. Visitors 15 years of age and younger are free! The three-day festival takes place Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 23-25, 2016 at Huntington Beach State Park near Murrells Inlet.
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