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Beach-goers drawn to festival
Jill Harris danced among hundreds of music lovers Saturday afternoon at the Jekyll Island Beach Music Festival.

Joined by her friend, Kenny Bryant, the pair danced to The Embers' "I Love Beach Music" as performed by the Second Chance Band.

Harris is the band's manager and says the beach music festival is an event they can't get enough of.

"We look forward to it every year," Harris said.

They were among thousands of beach-goers who filed onto the sands of Jekyll to enjoy a day of music next to the sea.

Guests lined the beach with tents, umbrellas and coolers as music lovers sang to their favorite beach music songs. Sons of Sailors also took to the stage to perform classic Jimmy Buffett hits.

After 30 years, the event still attracts beach music enthusiasts from across the country.

Nearly 5,000 people attended the weekend's events, which included a shag dancing party and dancing lessons, said Beth Burnsed, special events director for the Jekyll Island Authority, which operates the state park.

People are attracted to the annual ocean front concert not only for the music, Burnsed said, but for the atmosphere and camaraderie.

"It's definitely not your typical beach day," Burnsed said.

Dwight Beckhart traveled to Jekyll for vacation from Kentucky and spent the week taking in the island's wildlife and bike paths.

But the highlight of his trip was the time he spent Saturday relaxing on the beach with friends and family during a free concert.

"I think it's great," Beckhart said. "Anywhere Jimmy Buffett (music) is playing, I have to be there."

After a week-long vacation in Florida, Jeff Ruschau made a point to stop at Jekyll on his way home to Ohio.

As his son played in the ocean waves and built a sandcastle, Ruschau enjoyed the concert and planned to return in the future with his family.

"I'm very impressed," Ruschau said. "This is the first time I've ever been to a Georgia beach."

Music and surf also brought locals to Jekyll for the festival.

Regina Blauvett of Brunswick made her way to the festival for the first time. The beach always provides a great time, she said, but free entertainment made the afternoon memorable.

"This is like therapy for me," Blauvett said.

The festival began Thursday night with a Shag-A-Ganza party and ended Saturday evening with a dance.

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