17 fun facts about the Beaufort Water Festival

For almost 70 fun-filled years the Beaufort Water Festival has been celebrating local traditions of water, sports, and entertainment. With a new theme every year, the 10-day festival takes place every July at downtown Beaufort’s Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.

Amazing shows, dances, concerts, raft races, sporting and many other events take place at during the festival with scores of volunteers coming together to bring the events to attendees who converge on Beaufort from all over the southeast and the rest of the U.S. With all of that history, there’s bound to be some things you weren’t aware of and we’re here to help you with that.

beaufort water festival facts


Here are some fun facts about the Beaufort, South Carolina Water Festival…

1. It takes over 400 volunteers to plan, manage and pull off the events that make up the Beaufort Water Festival.

2. The first Beaufort Water Festival had a crew of only 15 volunteers.

3. The Water Festival is the longest-running festival on the East Coast that is put on by an all-volunteer staff.

4. The Beaufort Lions Club is in charge of the Water Festival parade and has been every year….since 1956.

5. The River Dance used to be called the Street Dance and it used to be held on a closed-off Bay Street in downtown.

6. It takes 1250 lbs of local shrimp, 3000 ears of corn, 1100 lbs of sausage, 400 lbs of slaw, 3000 rolls, 100 local watermelons, and 300 gallons of sweet tea & lemonade to feed everyone at the annual Lowcountry Supper.

7. Back in the 1950s, it cost fifty cents to attend the Water Festival Beauty Pageant and $1 per couple to attend the Water Festival Ball.

8. Many of the events at the Beaufort Water Festival are free to attend and enjoy.

9. The Beaufort Water Festival is responsible for bringing in nearly $7 million dollars to our local economy.

10. Tuesday night’s concert theme used to be called Tropical Tuesday. It was recently renamed Hometown Tuesday and is one of seven concerts each year at the Water Festival.

11. In the early days of the Water Festival there were two days of sailboat races.

12. The classic rock band Foghat once played at the Beaufort Water Festival.

13. The Beaufort Water Festival started in 1956.

14. The Water Festival Pirettes were introduced in 1969 as goodwill ambassadors of the event.

15. The Beaufort River is closed to all traffic during the Beaufort Water Festival Air Show.

16. The Beaufort Water Festival Parade has been televised live on local television stations serving the Beaufort area from Savannah, Ga.

Fact #17….you’re going to have lots of fun attending this year’s Beaufort Water Festival!

Beaufort Water Festival
Beaufort Water Festival

For a full list of 2023 events, click here!

For more information about this year’s Annual Beaufort Water Festival and to purchase your tickets online please visit https://www.bftwaterfestival.com

See y’all there!


Sources: Annual Beaufort Water Festival website and guide, Craig Reaves, Jason Dangerfield, Steve Hiers