Soft Shell Crab Fest draws thousands to Port Royal

Despite a constant threat of rain and some occasional drizzle, Paris Avenue in Port Royal was bustling on Saturday afternoon as the 11th annual Soft Shell Crab Festival drew thousands. Larger and more action packed than previous years, each and every smiling face seemed to be having a great time dancing, drinking, and eating their hearts out.

Locals and visitors alike were indulged in the sites of the beautiful wetlands and historical charm that Port Royal has to offer, while experiencing food, drink, and fun for the majority of the afternoon.

With a name like the Soft Shell Crab Festival, one can only assume that the food was outstanding. With everything from elephant ears and red velvet funnel cakes, this festival had it all. You could soak up the day and savor delicious pulled pork plates; enjoy some fresh local fare from Sea Eagle Market, or sample some of our local restaurant hot spots like Plums. Though there was a little something for everyone – most plates were stacked tall with baskets of soft shell crabs; giving the festivals namesake justice. You truly 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 one of the several live music acts. This year brought live music from both Mutual Aid and Bad Justice. The USMC Parris Island Brass Band was putting smiles on faces and shaking the hips of many unsuspecting bystanders. Kids moved and grooved right along with the music in their special inflated play area near the stage.

There were vendors from all over Beaufort and Port Royal supporting multiple different causes and providing both education and unique items for the taking.

There was plenty for everyone at the Soft Shell Crab Festival   Photo by Dawn RamseyFor a few dollars you could bet on a crab in the Port Royal Crab Race sponsored by the Rotary Club with all of the proceeds benefiting local charities. In addition to this unique event, many groups around the area set up booths talking about new endeavors, and local concerns; like ways we can help protect our planet. Friends from Hunting Island State Park and other local conservation groups were among the dozens supporting various 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 little slice of heaven carved especially for you. Dozens of cars in spectacular shape deckedSoft Shell Crab Fest draws thousands to Port Royal  Photo by Dawn Ramsey the streets at the entrance of the festival; from both the past and present courtesy of the Classic Car & Truck Club of Beaufort.

Though the cars, dancing, and vendors were all incredible – the truest highlight of the festival was you.

The local support, pride and gusto that this town holds is the glue that keeps these events constantly occurring – and the glue that gives Beaufort its reputation as one of the friendliest, most beautiful and miraculously untouched places in the south.

For more than 100 photos of Saturday’s 11th Annual Soft Shell Crab Festival, please visit this link.

Local restaurants including Plums brought their best soft shell crab recipes to the festival.  Photo by Dawn Ramsey







Soft Shell Crab Fest included a Classic Car Show  Photo by Dawn Ramsey







Soft Shell Crab Fest draws thousands to Port Royal  Phop by Dawn Ramsey







Soft Shell Crab Festival draws thousands to Port Royal  Photo by Ryan Smith