Despite rain and hiccups inherent with organizing a large event at the last minute, Candice Glover's "American Idol" concert in downtown Beaufort worked out just about right, organizers and participants said.
"What was awesome was as soon as she started singing, the sun came out," said Jaime Dailey-Vergara, Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman.
The concert and parade in downtown Beaufort piggybacked on the previously scheduled Taste of Beaufort festival, drawing about 10,000 people, according to chamber estimates.
Volunteers and community donations drove the festivities.
"Everybody just came together with a plan, and it humbles me as a mayor to see a community that reacts so quickly, so confidently, so efficiently," Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling said.
The only complaint he has received is that shuttle buses used to alleviate what would have been a lack of downtown parking did not accommodate the handicapped. That problem will be addressed in the future, should similar shuttle service be needed again, Keyserling said.
About $24,000 has been raised for the Glover celebration, Dailey-Vergara said. "American Idol" is not paying for the concert, so the chamber is handling costs and has set up a donation fund. The total is still being tallied, but it appears the bill for the event will top the $50,000 original estimate, according to the chamber.
The stage, LED screens in Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park, lighting and sound cost $34,000 alone, according to tourism division director Robb Wells. Beaufort County Sheriff's Office costs are expected to be about $10,000. The city of Beaufort will pay for its police costs, which have not been computed, police spokeswoman Hope Able said.
Donations are still being accepted, and fundraisers are planned to make up the remaining amount, Dailey-Vergara said.
That $24,000 raised is in addition to the thousands of dollars people have donated to the Glover family to help them support their daughter and attend "Idol" shows.
"I just want to thank Beaufort County and the surrounding areas for what you've done. You've allowed us to go see our daughter each week on 'American Idol,' " said Glover's mother, Carole. "I'm so happy Beaufort helped us, because we wouldn't have been able to do it without you. Now we've got enough, and now you can give back to the city."
Beaufort police tightened security Saturday, with the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office and Port Royal Police Department assisting. Nearly all city police not already on duty were called in to work. No major problems were reported, despite the large crowd.
Beaufort Water Festival volunteers did much of the work to assemble and break down the stage, fencing and other temporary structures needed for the Glover celebration. About 50 festival committee members and almost 100 safety volunteers assisted.
Hotel occupancy rates for the weekend were not immediately available from the chamber, but "anecdotally, there wasn't a room downtown" Saturday, between Taste of Beaufort, Glover and three weddings, Wells said. Downtown restaurant owners hoping for big sales gave the weekend mixed reviews. Several said business was strong but short of expectations.
Panini's On the Waterfront manager Derek Comerford said that facing the stage away from downtown probably did not help, as people were congregating away from the businesses. Old Bull Tavern and Q on Bay reported business was less than hoped for, but they did have dinner rushes after the concert.
- Glover shows Beaufort why she's an 'Idol' finalist, May 4, 2013
- 'Idol' star Glover reunites with her family, performs at Penn Center, May 4, 2013
- Fans of 'Idol' finalist Glover attend Beaufort concert in droves, May 4, 2013
- Beaufort flies into frenzy to prepare for homecoming of 'American Idol's' Candice Glover, May 3, 2013