Beach weddings, hungry alligators and sensible growth management so far top the list of memories Hilton Head Island residents hope to preserve for the next 20 years.
Residents have been asked to help document hopes, ideas and fond moments from 2013 to be buried in a time capsule and uncovered in 2033.
Event organizer Heather Rath said all island residents, groups and businesses are encouraged to submit letters, photos, drawings and videos online for event organizers to transfer to SD memory cards that will be placed in the capsule. About 20 entries have been received, but the capsule can hold thousands of submissions, Rath said.
Residents have until Nov. 20 to make a submission.
"There is still time," Rath said. "This is all about our community and celebrating the past and the future, and making your mark on the island."
Organizers are particularly interested in entries from those who have lived on the island for at least 50 years and who can share stories of the changes on Hilton Head, as well as their desires for its future.
"We'd also like to see more photos of young families on the island because they're the ones 20 years from now who are going to be opening this with their children," Rath said. "We also have so many organizations that work so hard on this island and would like to see them and their efforts documented."
The capsule will be buried toward the end of the year at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn. A date has not yet been set. The capsule will be excavated on the town's 50th anniversary and will include a few non-digitized items, Rath said. Among them are letters from the town's first mayor, the late Ben Racusin, and current Mayor Drew Laughlin; photos of the first and current town councils; maps; and other historical data.
Racusin, who wrote the letter about a week before his death Aug. 11 at age 98, describes the difficult task faced by the town's first council in 1983 to balance the potential for development with its natural characteristics.
"Looking ahead, I see a future where world-class amenities exist, interests of tourists, residents and businesses are intertwined," Racusin wrote. He also envisioned a town "that continues to see the value of the environment and continually monitors the standards of growth, and where racism and partisanship do not exist."
Asked what they enjoy most about the island, many residents recalled fond memories of beach weddings and exploring the island's natural habitats, described by one couple as "a slice of Eden."
Asked what they would want someone opening the capsule in 20 years to know, one couple wrote: "We hope you know that we tried to live here leaving only footprints in the sand, and to preserve this island for you and generations to come. Please care for and love this island."
Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/IPBG_Tom.