A Water Festival survival guide
By Ashley Hamm | The next two weeks are perhaps the most anticipated days all year longin Beaufort. The 57th Annual Beaufort Water Festival kicks off today with the opening ceremony at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park. For us locals, this is the time of year when friends from distant lands flock home for an unforgettable reunion; downtown shops, galleries and restaurants are at their finest; and the sandbar and beaches beckon the loudest.
While there are numerous events leading up to Friday night, the main events are what attract the most attendees. Whether you are new to Water Festival, or a seasoned veteran, wading through the festival schedule can be overwhelming for some. Here are a few events that no one should miss:
Opening Ceremony – Friday July 13th, 7pm
Like every year, to get the party started, there will be a spectacular fireworks display at dusk, as well as music from the always-fabulous Parris Island Marine Corps Band
Concert in the Park – Saturday, July 14th
Each year, Beaufort welcomes a national recording artist to rock the park. This year, we welcome country artist James Otto, and opening act Chuck Courtenay. Admission $20
Children’s Day – Sunday, July 15th
The park turns into a fun factory for kids, featuring shows, rides, games, face-painting and prizes.
Teen Dance – Sunday, July 15th
DJ Jeff Taylor will provide the entertainment for teens ages 13-17, valid ID required.
Motown Monday – Monday, July 16th
Deas-Guyz will provide entertainment for Beaufort’s Motown lovers. Admission is $7, with free admission to active duty military with valid Military ID.
Talent Show – Wednesday, July 18th
Beaufort’s got talent, so come on out and cheer on your brave locals getting up on stage!
Admission $10, free with Official 2012 Beaufort Water Festival T-shirt.
Lowcountry Supper – Thursday, July 19th
The Broke Locals – one of my personal favorites – will be opening up for Too Much Sylvia. Enjoy a delicious supper from 6pm – 7:30pm, and enjoy great music all night long! Admission $15
River Dance – Friday, July 20th
Shark Rodeo opens up for The Design, guaranteeing that the park will be rockin’ until midnight!
Must be 18+ with valid ID to attend. Admission $12
Commodore’s Ball – Saturday, July 21st
The Headliners will provide entertainment for the celebration of this year’s Commodore, John Gentry. Admission: $10
Blessing of the Fleet and Parade of Boats
The Blessing of the Fleet and Parade of Boats mark the end of the Water Festival. Boats can compete for Best Decorated Commercial Boat, or for Best Decorated Personal Watercraft, with prizes of $100 in each category, as well as a Judge’s Award of $100. If you don’t have a boat, come on out anyway and admire the creativity that people put in for this competition.
Also, don’t miss the arts and crafts tables along the water. You never know what kind of unique gifts and souvenirs you will find from our local artisans!
Now that you know what not to miss, don’t forget how to survive it all in this 100+ Southern summer heat!
As with any outdoor event in Beaufort this time of year, staying hydrated is crucial to enjoying the Water Festival. The combination of heat and humidity can prove to be too much for some, local and tourist alike, so make sure you drink plenty of water.
Don’t skimp on the sunscreen!
This is staple #2 of surviving Beaufort in the summer. Because the majority of Water Festival events are outdoors during the day, you’re an easy target for sunburn. Don’t let burns and blisters be the lasting memories of this year’s Water Festival. Apply sunscreen liberally, even on overcast days, and please, don’t forget to lather up the kids!
Parking during Water Festival can turn into a big headache. What are usually free parking spaces turn into paid parking during festival days, so plan your budget accordingly. There is also a shuttle service available from the Beaufort County Government Center on Ribaut Road.
Beer and wine will be available in the park at every event. While drinking is expected of festival goers, but do so in moderation. Police officers will patrolling the park, so save yourself the hassle of a ticket or, even worse, an arrest, and handle yourselves accordingly.
Keep an eye on your surroundings
Unfortunately, festivals do sometimes bring out those who are more interested in mischief than celebration. While Beaufort police diligently patrol the area, make sure that you do not wander off by yourself, especially at night. Stay in well-lit, populated areas, and if you need any help getting home after a long night, there will be plenty of taxi cabs to get you there safely.
The Beaufort Water Festival is always a blast for locals and visitors alike. Enjoy the Sandbar Summer and Southern Nights!
For complete information on the Beaufort Water Festival…visiti their website at www.bftwaterfestival.com