Water Festival back for another year of tried-and-true fun

July 13, 2011 

  • FRIDAY
    Festival art and craft market: Noon to 5 p.m.; promenade, Waterfront Park; free to public
    Opening ceremony: Gates open at 6 p.m., ceremony begins at 7 p.m.; Waterfront Park; featuring the Parris Island Marine Band and a fireworks display; free to public; shuttle service available from Beaufort County Government Center

    SATURDAY
    Raft race: 9 a.m.; Waterfront Park; entry fee for participants
    Bocce tournament: 9 a.m.; Waterfront Park; entry fee for participants
    Festival art and craft market: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; promenade, Waterfront Park; free to public
    Sponsors' expo: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Waterfront Park pavilion; free to public
    Children's toad fishing tournament: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Waterfront Park; free for children ages 12 and under only
    Coast Guard cutter tours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Waterfront Park; free to public
    Shrimp boat tours: Noon to 4 p.m.; Waterfront Park; free to public
    Lowcountry Estuarium: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Waterfront Park; free to public
    Badminton tournament: 11 a.m.; Waterfront Park; entry fee for participants
    Gatorland Ski Show: 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.; Beaufort River, Waterfront Park; free to public
    Sailing regatta: 2:45 to 4:45 p.m.; Beaufort River in front of seawall; entry fee for participants
    Concert in the park: 8 to 11:30 p.m., gates open at 7 p.m.; Waterfront Park; entertainment by country music artist Lee Brice, opening with Josh Thompson; no strollers allowed; admission: $20; shuttle service available from Beaufort County Government Center

    SUNDAY
    Festival art and craft market: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; promenade, Waterfront Park; free to public
    Boat bingo: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; local waters; entry fee for participants
    Coast Guard cutter tours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Waterfront Park; free to public
    Shrimp boat tours: Noon to 4 p.m.; Waterfront Park; free to public
    Lowcountry Estuarium: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Waterfront Park; free to public
    Children's Day: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Waterfront Park; featuring Magic Marc and other shows with rides, games, and prizes; free to public
    Gatorland Ski Show: 2 to 4 p.m.; Beaufort River, Waterfront Park; free to public
    Sailing Regatta (continued): 2 to 4 p.m., Beaufort River in front of Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club
    Teen Dance: 6 to 9 p.m.; Waterfront Park; no entry after 8 p.m., no re-entry allowed; entertainment by D.J. Ross Brown; ages 13-17 only, valid ID required; admission: $10.

  • Get breaking news, story updates and alerts about fun things to do in the city of Beaufort and surrounding areas by following Eye on Beaufort on Twitter.

The 56th annual Beaufort Water Festival kicks off Friday with a schedule packed full of the same tried-and-true events that have long anchored the 10-day celebration.

Commodore Bob Bible said the traditional nightly headline activities return, but he and festival coordinators tweaked some events to improve attendance and safety.

In particular, organizers "made quite a few changes" to the annual Teen Dance, an event for those ages 13 to 17. The future of the festival's Teen Dance appeared uncertain after fights broke out outside the gates at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park as last year's event ended.

Beaufort Police used pepper spray to quell three fights between 10 and 10:30 p.m.

Among other things, the dance will end one hour earlier, at 9 p.m., and organizers will allow only small "clutch purses" inside the gates.

Bible declined to describe the other measures organizers and law enforcement will take, but said "we've intended to make it safer."

Festival-goers might also notice a special theme woven throughout this year's events.

Bible selected "56 Years of Tradition, 300 Years of History" as the festival's theme this year as a nod to Beaufort's recent celebration of the 300th anniversary of its charter.

Local forecasts through the weekend predict relatively low temperatures -- highs of 90 Friday and Saturday and 89 Sunday -- but with a chance of thunderstorms. Bible says there is only so much the organization can do to plan for bad weather and, for the most part, will deal with it as it arises.

"Every commodore will tell you ... the only thing you can really control are your expenses," Bible said. "Everything else you just keep your fingers crossed and pray."

Follow staff writer Juliann Vachon at twitter.com/EyeOnBeaufort.

Related content

  1. The Beaufort Gazette's Water Festival page, with photo galleries and past coverage
  2. The official Water Festival website

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