Organizers in charge of the city of Beaufort's tricentennial celebration aim to end the year-long commemoration with a bang.
A final party is planned for Dec. 31, similar to the Founders' Night that ushered in New Year's 2011, Beaufort Tricentennial Committee chairwoman Erin Dean said.
The committee also is trying to raise more money to install a new monument in the Henry C. Chamber's Waterfront Park in honor of the milestone, according to Kevin Cuppia, who is leading that effort. Sponsors' names will be on the monument.
Cuppia, a jeweler by trade, came up with the monument's design during a walk through the waterfront park. He wanted something that summed up the first 300 years of Beaufort and was educational and appealing as well.
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The design could include 12 to 14 blocks with slanted, bronze face plates, each engraved with either historical information or names of the Beaufort 300 sponsors, Cuppia said. The blocks would sit between the circle of palmetto trees on the park near the marina.
Another option is to engrave the 300 names into bricks encircling the trees and blocks.
The monument might also include the flags of the seven countries that have governed the area, Cuppia said.
"It's going to be a very nice addition to the park," Mayor Billy Keyserling said. "It's the kind of thing you won't notice until you see it, but will stand out once you do."
The rendering by Cuppia and Jim Schroeder was approved by the City Council a few months ago. Carolina Granite and Monument of Bluffton is putting together designs and an estimated cost, Cuppia said. He is working with local historian Larry Rowland on the text.
Beaufort 300 is in a final push for 300 sponsors and has 222.
Most are individuals and families, but a handful of nonprofit organizations and corporations have signed up. If 300 sponsors each donate $300-plus, the project will raise more than $90,000.
Any money left from the fundraiser will go toward other historical efforts in Beaufort, such as the Beaufort Historical Society's historical markers around the city and region, Cuppia said. If the estimates exceed the amount raised by the 300 sponsors, the group will hold additional fundraisers.
"It's basically the same thing, whether it's history on the monument, or a pole, or out on Fripp Island," he said. "We'll put it into something historical."
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/EyeOnBeaufort