Beaufort Water Festival goes tropical

July 19, 2011 

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Hawaiian shirts and plastic leis were familiar sights Tuesday night at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.

The park was packed with hundreds of area residents and visitors sporting sarongs, the flourscent-colored shirts, the plastic garlands and others island-inspired styles to celebrate the fifth night of the 56th Annual Beaufort Water Festival.

Dubbed Tropical Tuesday, the event featured a performance by Conch Republic, a Lexington, Ky. "trop rock" band which covered songs by The Surfaris, Jimmy Buffett and other artists.

The band's performance was a hit with many in attendance, particularly the Buffett fans.

"I'm just here to drink a little bit, listen to some Buffett and enjoy life in the Lowcountry," said Bob Sutherland of St. Helena Island. "I thought it was going to be really hot but the heat has kind of died off and it's a gorgeous night. Nights like this make you grateful to live in such a beautiful place."

The Water Festival continues tonight with the event's annual talent show, which begins at 7 p.m. It features several local residents trying to sing, dance and perform their way into festival history.

The variety of events offered during the Water Festival's 10-day run is what keeps residents like Barb Barringer of Beaufort coming back year after year.

Barringer and her husband Stu relocated to Beaufort from Michigan five years ago and have made the festival part of their new life in the Lowcountry.

"It's just so much fun," Barringer said. "You've got tonight, the talent show, Lowcountry Supper, I mean it's all so fun. We've had family members come down specifically during Water Festival to enjoy the festival and enjoy Beaufort and everyone leaves so impressed. On a night like tonight, it's pretty easy to see why."

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