A Taste of Beaufort provides fun, food, and excitement to thousands
By Hannah Morris | Many opted to try much more than the typical Mexican dish this Cinco De Mayo as the Taste of Beaufort festival reigned superior in downtown Beaufort. Locals agree that out of their many festivals, this is certainly their tastiest – with 16 restaurants this year providing gourmet samples at unbeatable prices. Each year ATOB seems to get better and better with expanded craft market this year and I was excited to attend when Saturday came. When I got there, I noticed that 8000-10000 others thought the same.
As we walked down towards the waterfront, we were greeted with lines of tents filled with local artists and products you can only find at festivals like these: stained glass, Gullah art, and handmade soaps to name a few. I spent a good part of my day taking care to see the wonderful pictures of the Lowcountry, handmade jewelry, and fun accessories filling the tents.
Music filled the air as multiple local acts took the stage, Donnie Polk, Shark Rodeo, and Broke Locals all brought the crowd to their feet as they played covers of favorites throughout the ages. Towards the children area, the kiddos were even treated to five giant bouncy castles; bringing delight to many small faces. Folks were clamouring around the Main Street Beaufort, USA offices to look at the posted list of winners in every category from Saturday morning’s 5K race.
However wonderful the rest of the festival was, the best part of any festival that begins with “a taste” certainly has to be the food. As for myself – I had to have a sample of as much as I could manage!
We began with an appetizer of She Crab Soup from the local Barbara Jeans – speaking with those in the tent; I discovered this small chain of a restaurant began in St. Simons Island, Georgia where a military spouse moved so many times and picked up so many recipes she just had to share them with those around her. You can find southern favorites and Hawaiian twists at this local spot. The soup was warm and filling – and they gave you quite a bit! Next, I had to visit Yes Thai Indeed who supplied me with five wontons sprinkled with their sweet and spicy sauce. Emily’s Restaurant and Tapas Bar is a must-visit, and I got a basket full of blackened shrimp – delicious but oh-so-spicy! I looked for something to cool it off with and I chose to grab an ice cream cone from Bruster’s – another local favorite for families looking for a night to sit out and enjoy a cone.
While sitting enjoying my snacks and watching Donnie Polk leave the stage after his performance, the YMCA Zumba ladies took to the grass for a Flash Mob lasting roughly six minutes! Young and old, the women of Beaufort definitely took the city by surprise and brought laughter and smiles to the crowd with their high-energy ‘suprise’ performance.
Walking through, I bumped into LaNelle Fabian, Main Street Beaufort’s Executive Director, who was impressed with the turnout. “I’m thrilled to see everyone having such a wonderful time. It’s definitely a great turn out!” when asked about the possibility of the festival getting rained out, she laughed and responded with, “locals here know that the weatherman is rarely right – and we’re having such a good time that we’d have to be hanging from trees blowing in the wind to call this festival off!”
The festival remained into the late afternoon hours, with everyone eating, drinking, and dancing the day away. I believe everyone is on the same page where if they could have had a little bit of everything, they definitely would have; but it’s now a certain possibility that those restaurants we always overlook or have never tried have certainly moved up on our personal list.
A Taste of Beaufort…definitely a winner.