Festival volunteer: Dan Thompson

July 19, 2010 

Dan Thompson at the Beaufort City Marina on Monday evening. His first time to the festival was as a volunteer.

JONATHAN DYER | THE BEAUFORT GAZETTE

Dan Thompson began his work with the Beaufort Water Festival as many others have throughout the event's 55-year history -- at the prompting of a friend.

It was 2000 and Thompson was a reserve officer for the Port Royal Police Department. A friend who was working as the festival's safety coordinator at the time suggested Thompson put his skills to use.

From there he went on to serve in other director and coordinator positions, leading to his job this year as the parks coordinator.

His job involves overseeing all things park-related -- the layout, construction, fencing, trailers and other mechanics and hardware of the festival's home at the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.

Thompson recently answered a few questions about his life and work with the festival. His responses have been paraphrased.

Name: Dan Thompson

Age: 45

Occupation: Network technician with Hargray Communications

Home: Beaufort

Water Festival role: Parks coordinator

Question. When did you attend your first Water Festival?

Answer. I first attended and volunteered in 2000. I'd actually never been to the festival before then.

Q. Years associated with the Water Festival and other capacities in which you've served:

A. This is my 10th year with the festival. I started as a security director and have also held the parks director, sports director, sports coordinator and sales and admission coordinator positions.

Q. Have other members of your family been involved with the Water Festival?

A. Yes. My wife, Bonnie, volunteers with the festival and is a sales and admissions director this year. My 20-year-old daughter has also volunteered in the past.

Q. What do you enjoy most about Water Festival week?

A. Working with the other volunteers. We're like a big extended family. I also really enjoy seeing kids having a good time at events like the toad fish tournament.

Q. If you weren't involved with the Water Festival, what would you be doing this week?

A. Working. I used two weeks of my vacation for the festival.

Q. What is your favorite Water Festival memory?

A. My personal favorite was when Les Brediger (the 2008 Water Festival commodore) asked me to come up to the table as a coordinator. But my friends would probably say their favorite memory of me was last year when the coordinators dressed in grass skirts and tied up our shirts for Tropical Tuesday. We hula hooped and did a conga-line dance.

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