The diversity and depth of Beaufort's culinary scene will be on display this weekend for the 13th annual A Taste of Beaufort festival in Waterfront Park.
Diners will be able to sample food from more than a dozen local restaurants serving up cuisine ranging from traditional Southern fare to fried, local seafood to Thai-inspired dishes.
The festival kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday night and the food booths will reopen at 11 a.m. Saturday for another day of culinary indulgence. Food and drink tickets are $1 each. Samples typically run between two and seven tickets.
For that price, festivalgoing foodies will be able to sample items such as a fried oyster topped with a corn relish from Plums restaurant or the eatery's famed shrimp salad, which are only two of several dishes the Bay Street restaurant plans to serve up.
Chip Dinkins, director of operations for Plums Inc., said the festival provides his staff a chance to show off for the 10,000 locals and visitors expected to be in attendance this weekend.
"We think of Taste of Beaufort as an opportunity to showcase what we do each and every day at the restaurant and do it for an audience that includes locals as well as visitors to our area who have maybe never been to the restaurant," Dinkins said. "We really like having an opportunity to cook for 8,000 to 10,000 people over the course of a weekend."
Other participating restaurants include Bruster's Real Ice Cream; Yes! Thai Indeed; Q on Bay; Panini's; Gilligan's of Beaufort; The Island Fudge Shoppe; Coastal Shaved Ice; Sea Eagle Market; Island Meat Market; Papaya Thai and Sushi Bar; Southern Graces Bistro; Q on Bay; Emily's Restaurant; and Gullah Geechie Rent-a-Chef, according to organizers from Main Street Beaufort, USA, a nonprofit organization that teams with the city of Beaufort to promote downtown.
The festival isn't only about the food.
The weekend's festivities also include an arts and crafts market, 90-minute tours of the Sea Islands, a local artists exhibition inside the park's pavilion, a 5K over the Richard V. Woods Memorial Bridge on Saturday morning and tours of the Verdier House on Bay Street.
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