Water Festival's Grand Parade douses crowds with delight

achristnovich@beaufortgazette.comJuly 21, 2012 

Participants in the Water Festival Grand Parade basked in sunshine and applause Saturday morning as they thoroughly soaked onlookers along the parade route.

Children and adults alike half cringed and half welcomed being sprayed, doused or spritzed with water in the mid-morning heat as the parade snaked through downtown Beaufort.

The grand marshal was Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham. Other local and regional political participants included U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C, and U.S. Rep. Tim Scott, R-Charleston, and, of course, the Beaufort City Council. Later in the day, Dan Thompson was named Water Festival commodore for next year's event.

The parade, coordinated by the Beaufort Lion's Club and sponsored by the Greenery, had more than 50 floats.

The winners of the Beaufort Water Festival Grand Parade were:

  • Best Water Festival theme: Beaufort Academy

  • Best Music Performance: Beaufort SHAG Club

  • Most Patriotic: The Veteran's Tribute

  • The 10-day festival wraps up today at 3 p.m. at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.

    Hope you didn't miss: The air show, where demonstrations by parachutists, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and other small air craft wowed festivalgoers from 1 to 4 p.m.

    Better not miss: The Blessing of the Fleet and Parade of Boats from noon to 2 p.m. on the Beaufort River in front of the park. Participants decorate their boats and a church leader blesses them as they pass by. The event is sponsored by the Water Festival Commodores. Boats must register to be eligible for prizes. All applications must be at the judges stand prior to noon.

    Prizes will be awarded for:

  • Best decorated commercial boat: $100

  • Best decorated personal water craft: $100

  • Judges award: $100

  • Volunteer of the day: Kin Mack, construction director.

    Mack, 58, a chemistry teacher at Beaufort High School, said he often sees current or former students enjoying their summer break at the Water Festival. Mack started volunteering 10 years ago when several colleagues encouraged him to sign up. He describes his services as doing odd jobs and setting up lighting on different parts of the festival grounds by running extension cords through trees.

    As fellow volunteers passed Mack on Saturday, they waved and exchanged quick jokes while bustling from one task to the next.

    The best part of the festival for Mack? "The people you get to work with. That's what makes it worthwhile," he said. "It's friendships you make that are lifelong."

    Socially speaking: "Wonderful time @BFTwaterfestival parade, per-parade coffee, TGD parade party & Republican Women's Social!!! @votetimscott @CongJoeWilson" By Shannon Smith Erickson via Facebook.

    To see what others are saying about the Beaufort Water Festival on social media, go to www.beaufortgazette.com/waterfestival.

    Related content: See our Facebook, Twitter and photo contributions on our Storify page

    Hundreds turn up for river dance, July 20, 2012

    Official Water Festival site

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