Fun and games ring in Beaufort Water Festival's Children's Day

mmcnab@beaufortgazette.comJuly 21, 2013 

  • Time TBD: Croquet tournament.

  • 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Festival arts and crafts market on the promenade.

  • 8 to 11 p.m.: Motown Monday concert with Deas Guyz. Gates open at 7 p.m. Tickets: $10.

Hundreds of kids and parents descended on Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park on Sunday for the Beaufort Water Festival's Children's Day, enjoying live musical and dance acts, inflatable bounce houses and games.

Beaufort residents Emma Abrams and Lilly Vergara were two of those children taking in the sights and sounds of Children's Day. Abrams said she and her friends had quickly gone through the park, trying some of the activities before stopping for ice cream.

"It's been really fun," Abrams said. "The obstacle course they have is pretty good."

Vergara said she and her friends were headed to the rain room, a cool-down area at the park, before heading out to try some of the other activities and watch some of the live performances.

"It's my favorite week of the year," Vergara said. "I love it."

Children's Day chairwoman Jessica Hawley said she had been working on getting live acts for the past few months, among them local dance teams from Beaufort and a traveling magician with a "mind-reading rabbit."

Hawley, in her first year volunteering at Water Festival, said she kept boxes of prizes and freebies in her garage for more than two weeks waiting for Children's Day.

"I've blessed lots of parents by giving their children noisemakers today," she joked.

Hope you didn't miss: Low tides made yesterday's shrimp boat tour a wash, but Water Festival visitors were finally able to get out on the boat and look around Sunday afternoon. Craig Reaves, owner of the Gracie Belle shrimp boat, led the tours around the 40-year-old boat. Reaves' family, who own the Sea Eagle Market on Boundary Street, purchased the boat around 13 years ago, naming it in honor of his grandmothers, Gracie and Ina Belle. If you missed the boat tour this weekend, the Gracie Belle will be back Saturday, when tides are expected to be higher, Reaves said.

Better not miss: Today's Motown Monday event is headlined by a performance from Hilton Head Island-based local favorite Deas Guyz at the Waterfront Park stage. The six-man troupe sings many different songs, including classic Motown songs and newer R&B hits. Gates for the show open at 7 p.m., and the show begins at 8 p.m. Admission is $10.

Volunteer of the day: Tony Serrato of Beaufort.

Volunteering for his sixth Water Festival, Serrato was on "turtle duty" Sunday, in charge of watching Commodore Dan Thompson's African spur tortoise Dozer. Serrato followed the tortoise around the area, stopping him for pictures with children and adjusting him to change his direction. It was his first time watching Dozer, who is normally brought out for Children's Day activities at Water Festival.

"I guess I just got lucky," he said. "It's tiring picking him up and moving him, since he weighs about 55 pounds. The kids have been full of excitement though."

Socially speaking: Kelly Huddy Robinson, via Facebook: "I will say I had a blast in the dragon boat races and my teen is downtown tonight. I know she's enjoying herself with her friends."

The competitive edge: Monday will mark the start of the Water Festival's croquet tournament. Opening rounds for golf croquet will be held Monday, with the finals on Tuesday. A second tournament, nine-wicket croquet, will take place on Wednesday and Thursday.

Follow reporter Matt McNab at

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