Port Royal's Soft Shell Crab Festival brings community together

By Hannah Morris |  Paris Avenue in Port Royal was bustling Saturday afternoon, when what must have been some 10,000 people came out in support of the Soft Shell Crab Festival.  Among the masses were loads of EatSleepPlayBeaufort.com shirts, and we were among you – soaking in the festivities and having a little fun while we were at it!
Locals and visitors alike enjoyed the pleasant sites of the beautiful wetlands and historical charm that Port Royal has to offer, while indulging in the signature festival food, drink, and fun for the majority of the afternoon.
With a name like the Soft Shell Crab Festival, one knows that the food was outstanding.
With everything from elephant ears and red velvet funnel cakes, to crab stuffed crepes; this festival had it all.
You could soak up the sun and savor delicious pulled pork plates from Danny’s BBQ; enjoy some fresh oysters from Sea Eagle Market, or get your kettle corn fix from Palmetto Kettle Corn.  Though there was a little something for everyone – most plates were stacked tall with baskets of Soft Shell Crabs; giving the festivals namesake true justice. happily, you could smell the fresh crab and variety of seafood throughout the air as you walked around.
Many opted to grab a drink and dance the day away with the live music that kept things hopping. The Groovetones rocked the event, putting smiles on faces and shaking the hips of many attendees. Kids moved and grooved right along with the music in their special inflated play area right next to the stage.
There were vendors from all over Beaufort, Port Royal and beyond supporting different causes and providing both education and unique items for the taking.  For ten dollars, you could bet on a crab in the Port Royal Charity Crab Race sponsored by the Rotary Club with the proceeds benefiting local charities. In addition to this unique event, many groups around the area set up booths showing their new endeavors, environmental concerns, and local issues. Friends of Hunting Island State Park, Bridges Preparatory School, and also some local conservation groups were among the dozens supporting their causes and concerns in the area. In addition to our local industries, many resident artists were able to display their unique artwork for purchase.  You could find one of a kind glass masterpieces, serene paintings, woodwork, purses, and even fun clothing that would guarantee you standing out in a crowd.
If antique cars are your thing, then this festival had a large slice of heaven carved out especially for you. Dozens of cars in spectacular shape decked the streets at the entrance of the festival; from both the past and present. You were even able to vote for your favorite of the bunch. I really enjoyed this section – though I know absolutely nothing about cars – it really felt like I was stepping through a time warp with all of these prized collectables.
Though the cars, dancing, and vendors were all incredible – I believe the truest highlight of the festival was you.
The local support, pride, and sheer ‘gusto’ that this little town holds is the glue that keeps these events constantly running – and the glue that gives the Lowcountry its reputation as one of the friendliest, most beautiful, and miraculously untouched places in the South.
Great job Port Royal.  We’re looking forward to next year already…
Photos by Eric R. Smith of Captured Moments Photography.  You can see more of Eric’s work Here.