Huntington Beach State Park to host Atalaya Fall Festival and Haunted Castle

Atalaya Fall Festival and Haunted Castle will be held at Huntington Beach State Park. This is a photo taken inside the courtyard of Atalaya. FILE PHOTO

 The name has changed, but the activities will remain the same Oct. 23 and 24 when Huntington Beach State Park and Atalaya open their doors for the annual haunted houses.

Cartoons will be shown during festival hours, 6 to 9 p.m. This year’s event features an expanded crafts area, good for people of all ages, a photo booth, “head-in-the-hole” photo opportunities and face painting for the younger set.

There will, as always, be ghost stories by the fire, weather permitting, scheduled each half hour.

In addition to the s’mores and popcorn, mainstays of past events, guests this year may purchase food from vendors.

While park and castle entry fees have been waived, there is an admission charge – $10 for adults, $7 for those 6 to 15. Those 5 and younger are admitted free.



Atalaya Arts & Craft Festival @ Huntington Beach State Park

Huntington Beach State Park will host the 37th Annual Atalaya Arts & Crafts Festival Sept. 27-29, 2013, just a few miles from Litchfield Beach and Golf Resort.

The festival features more than 100 artists including potters, painters, glass artist, fabric artists and more. It also includes live music and food.

“It’s a really great weekend for our park,” said J.W. Weatherford, senior ranger at Huntington Beach State Park. “We have this wonderful castle which is a great historical resource. In addition to the art here at the festival, we have wonderful local food and local music, so come on out.”

The castle Weatherford mentioned is also known as Atalaya, which was built from 1931 to 1933. The Moorish revival-style building was the winter home of Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington, the namesakes of the park who are also responsible for the creation of Brookgreen Gardens. The name of the castle comes from the Spanish word for “watchtower,” for the square tower that stands tall over the 30-room building.

The couple last used the castle as a home in 1947, and the furnishings were removed after Mr. Huntington’s death in 1955. The grounds the Huntingtons owned were leased to the state of South Carolina for a park in 1960, and Atalaya was listed on the National Register for Historic Places in 1984.

Guided tours of Atalaya are available for a fee through the state park throughout the year, but the use of the castle for the art festival is a special event that locals and visitors to the region enjoy visiting year after year.

’We’re very inspired when we come here, it’s our favorite show of the year,” said Barbara Streeter, a glass artist from Conway. “The castle makes it different, this is just a beautiful place to be.”

As an FYI, event organizers warn that stroller and wheelchair access can be difficult “due to uneven surfaces, stairs, crowds and narrow hallways.”

If you go:
What: 38th Annual Atalaya Arts & Crafts Festival
Where: Huntington Beach State Park’s Atalaya
When: Friday Sept. 27, noon to 6 p.m.; Saturday Sept. 28, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 29, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $6 daily, $10 for a multi-day pass

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