In good taste: Thousands pack downtown Beaufort to celebrate local restaurant scene

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comMay 5, 2012 

Having stopped in Beaufort on a whim as they traveled to their summer home near Jekyll Island, Ga., John and Bernadette Walters of Windsor, Ontario, found themselves in the middle of a local feeding frenzy Saturday.

The Walters were among thousands of hungry diners who packed the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park for the second day of the 12th annual Taste of Beaufort, which began Friday. The festival, sponsored by Main Street Beaufort, USA, offers a chance for Beaufort-area residents and visitors to sample dishes from more than a dozen local restaurants.

"For a small city, Beaufort has a lot of great locally-owned restaurants and to have them all down here today is pretty neat," John Walters said. "We were just lucky to come here on right day and be able to taste some of this delicious food."

Locals like Joseph Porcher of Lady's Island were similarly impressed.

"This is one of my favorite local events of the year," Porcher said. "The weather is usually perfect and the food is marvelous. It's just another reminder of how lucky we are to live in this beautiful place."

The event was created 11 years ago by the nonprofit Main Street Beaufort as a fundraiser. Originally held on Bay Street, the event was moved to Waterfront Park a few years ago to relieve traffic congestion, according to organizers.

Organizers expected 8,000 to 10,000 people to attend this year's event.

New to the festival was an arts and crafts market set up in the parking lot of the Beaufort Downtown Marina.

The makeshift market was a welcomed addition for many festivalgoers.

"Walking over here helps burn off some of the calories you consumed over in the park," Gene Mendes of Bluffton said with a laugh.

Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/ProtectServeBft.

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