Elvis Sightings at Myrtle Beach Airport?

The Sun News: If you saw an Elvis impersonator and a medieval knight dueling in the Myrtle Beach International Airport, would you think you were dreaming?

Maybe not. It could be sort of a new reality if a plan by airport officials works out.

Officials are trying to tap some local talent - including the host of Elvis impersonators and performers at some local theaters such as Medieval Times - to entertain passengers as they wait for their flights and give those arriving a unique first impression of Myrtle Beach.

"What we are looking at is creating some excitement within the terminal," airport spokeswoman Lauren Morris said. "Where else can you have an Elvis impersonator and a medieval knight jousting in the terminal?

"We want to make it more of a Myrtle Beach experience."

Airport officials have been encouraging passengers to arrive at the airport much earlier for their flights than they used to - as much as 90 minutes before departure - because the airport has gotten busier and there's also construction of the expanded terminal and new parking areas. That leaves a lot of down time for early arrivals that the airport is trying to spice up with entertainment near the screening or in the waiting area by the gates.

"There's not a lot to do," Morris said. "So you try to create an environment that is fun."

Tapping the many offerings around the beach - which lures 14 million tourists a year - seemed like a natural fit, Morris said. The performers can entertain passengers while also drumming up excitement for their venues, she said.

"We've got some great assets here," Morris said.

Recruiting started recently, with the airport soliciting the help of the Myrtle Beach Area Hospitality Association, which included a call for performers in its email newsletter that went out last week. The performers wouldn't get paid; instead it would be a chance to potentially reach new customers for their venues.

No local entertainer has stepped up yet, but airport officials are optimistic that some talent will eventually volunteer. Airport officials are gung-ho to try it as soon as they can because the complex is in the busy summer season.


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