Gloomy skies and rain gave way to a picturesque sunset Friday night as hundreds packed Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park to celebrate Beaufort's culinary community.
Hungry diners sampled dishes from a handful of the 15 restaurants participating in the 12th annual Taste of Beaufort, which began Friday. The event continues today at 11 a.m.
Linda Evans of Port Royal said she feared spotty showers and soggy weather throughout the day Friday would keep her and husband Dave from attending the first night of the two-day festival.
"I really look forward to this event but probably would have stayed home if (the weather) had been how it was all-day," Evans said as she looked out over the Beaufort River. "The weather gods were looking down on us. An hour or two before the event, the skies parted and look at the weather now -- just gorgeous."
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Many who attended Friday flocked to the park to avoid the thousands expected to attend the festival today.
"This festival has been around long enough to know the tricks," said Bill Stevens of Lady's Island. "We thought coming out the first night is better than coming Saturday and hitting the crowds and traffic. There isn't the full slate of restaurants on Friday but certainly enough to go home full."
The event was created 12 years ago by the nonprofit Main Street Beaufort USA as a fundraiser. Originally held on Bay Street, the event was moved to Waterfront Park a few years ago to relieve traffic congestion, according to organizers.
Organizers expected about 8,000 people to attend this year's event.