Yemassee, Hardeeville festivals to celebrate two Lowcountry staples

zmurdock@beaufortgazette.comSeptember 18, 2013 

If you're looking for fun and don't feel like cooking for yourself this weekend, two area festivals have got you covered.

The Yemassee Shrimp Festival and the Hardeeville Catfish Festival will celebrate two staples of Lowcountry homecooking along with live entertainment.

The shrimp festival begins 5 p.m. Thursday and continues through Sunday afternoon at 101 Town Circle in Yemassee.

The catfish festival begins Friday evening and ends Saturday night behind City Hall at 205 Main Street in Hardeeville.

Both include parades, live music, dancing, crafts, amusement park rides and fireworks. Perhaps most importantly, both festivals also will be loaded with homecooked food and friendly competition.

At 6 p.m. Thursday at the shrimp festival, local cooks will offer up a variety of dishes for the Shrimp Battle Cookoff. Visitors can pay $7 to taste 10 dishes and cast a ballot for the festival's best shrimp.

On Saturday morning in Hardeeville, judges will sample homemade cakes and catfish stew -- separately, of course -- and crown winners in both categories. The contest's cakes will be up for auction between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. to raise money for next year's festival.

Full schedules for each event can be found online at and

Tracy Wilson has attended the shrimp festival every year since 1972, when it first began and she was still a teenager, she said. Now she helps coordinate the festival and said it's an awfully good excuse to bring the community together for a weekend of fun and food.

"I enjoy everyone being in town," she said. "I like the atmosphere of it, and I just love seeing what's different each year."

The same goes for the festivities in Hardeeville, catfish festival chairman Bill Stanley said. He's been involved with the festival for 16 years and loves the opportunity to bring old friends together and meet new ones.

"Of course, I'll stop by to eat some catfish, too," he said with a laugh.

Follow reporter Zach Murdock at

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